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Clothing retailer fined record amount for fire safety breaches

The high street clothing retailer, New Look, has been fined a record amount after fire safety breaches at their Oxford Street branch.

THE FIRE

In April 2007, in the early evening, the shop was filled with customers when a fire broke out. The alarm began sounding, but was then turned off, and when none of the staff reacted to the alarm, the customers continued shopping.
Smoke began to billow out of the store, alerting passersby on the street, who began to shout and first alerted staff to the problem. At this point, the staff in the shop began to ‘panic’ and ordered customers out of the building.

THE CASE

Although no one was hurt in the blaze, it was described as a potential death trap. The store was fined a record amount of £400,000 for fire safety breaches, on account of their staff’s lack of training and for inadequate fire exits. They were also ordered to pay costs totalling £136,000.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU

When it comes to fire safety, it is important to plan ahead. Make sure your staff are trained and all are aware of what they need to do in the case of a fire. It is also necessary to conduct a fire risk assessment of your premises and to rectify any problems found in the risk assessment process.
Have you conducted a fire risk assessment of your premises yet? We can help you with this - start by using our ‘Fire risk review checklist’ to undertake a thorough inspection of your workplace. Follow this up with our ‘Fire risk assessment - Record of significant findings’ to record the findings during your inspection and also to identify where action might need to be taken.
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  03 Feb, 2010