Staff accommodation ‘placed people at risk of death or serious injury’

05 April 2017

An inspection by fire officers has led to owners of a west country nursing home with a six-figure bill for breaches of fire safety regulations.

A routine visit by Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to a Burnham-on-Sea house used by Almondsbury Care Ltd, revealed fire safety precautions that fell well below the standard required.

The three-storey building in Berrow Road, which is used as living and sleeping accommodation for employees working in the adjacent Hillview Nursing Home, had a number of faults including:

  • A fire alarm that did not work
  • Inadequate emergency lighting
  • A fire exit door which provided an alternative escape route could not be opened
  • Inadequate protection to the means of escape due to a lack of fire resisting doors
  • Cupboards blocking escape routes

During summing-up in the trial at Taunton Magistrates Court, the district judge, David Taylor, said that the premises had a whole range of failures that should have been “abundantly obvious to anyone who chose to think about it.”

The company was shown to have failed to make a proper assessment and their own risk assessment clearly identified deficiencies which they ignored. The business had allowed people to stay in a premises they knew placed people at risk of death or serious injury. The fire safety provisions fell far below the standard required, resulting in a high risk of harm. 

Paul Bray, the business safety manager for the fire service said, “ “It was extremely fortunate that a fire did not occur at these premises. Almondsbury Care Ltd would have been well aware of the need to implement suitable fire safety measures yet failed to ensure the safety of those working for the company.

“The severity of the fines imposed (£100,000) by the court gives out a clear message to those who have control of a premises and show a disregard for the law and those they have a duty to protect.”

Original source

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service

BBC News Somerset