In addition to the recent Fire Safety cases where employers have been sentenced and fined, we recently heard about a case which we felt was rather interesting, it is the first successful case against an employee under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
A care home manager has been fined £500 following a blaze in which an elderly woman died.
The manager admitted failing to maintain a suitable fire evacuation procedure when she appeared before Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court. She was prosecuted following a fire at a residential home in May last year, which claimed the life of an elderly resident.
A fire alarm had sounded but the manager did not ensure a proper search of the home was carried out. More than an hour later a fire was discovered, which claimed the resident’s life. An inquest into the death will be held later this month. The manager was fined £500.
During the hearing, the Judge commented: “As the manager of the care home it was the manager’s responsibility for the fire alarm and evacuation.”
Previously a fire alarm engineer was fined £5,000 in relation to the same incident at the care home. He had admitted failure to comply with fire regulations.
The prosecution of the manager was brought by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service under fire safety laws. Speaking after the hearing, Peter O’Reilly from the fire service, said: “This case clearly highlights and enforces the message that employers have a duty to ensure the safety of the people in they are looking after.
“This type of behaviour simply isn’t acceptable and we should not forget that an elderly resident in care died that night.
“This is the first time an employee has been prosecuted under this legislation, as opposed to an employer, and I am proud of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue for bringing this about.”
Remember, everybody has a duty to keep the workplace safe and healthy, not just employers. Safety matters.