Company and director sentenced following fire safety failings

Company and director sentenced following fire safety failings

A company and director have been ordered to pay a total of £56,000 after pleading guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Premier P Ltd and Jason Yarnell, the director and a manager of Premier P Ltd, Apollo Lichfield Road Industrial Estate, Tamworth, were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on Tuesday.

The company, Premier P Ltd, was ordered to pay a fine of £30,000 and full costs of approximately £25,000 to the Fire Authority and Mr Yarnell was ordered to pay a fine of £1,000.

On 9 April 2021, Premier P Ltd and Mr Yarnell pleaded guilty at Cannock Magistrates’ Court to all five breaches – failure to make a sufficient risk assessment to identify general fire precautions, failure to equip the premises with fire detection and fire alarms, failure to equip the premises with appropriate firefighting equipment, failure to ensure that emergency exists from the premises and the exit themselves were kept clear at all times and failure to ensure that in the event of danger, it must be possible for person to evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as safely as possible.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service inspected the premises on 6 March 202 following a report from an Environmental Health Officer at Tamworth Borough Council. The inspection identified exit routes were blocked by cardboard boxes, final exit doors were obstructed by steel security doors which were fastened by bolts and boxes of stock were piled to the premise’s ceiling, some touching light fittings and creating a potential source of fire.

The service considered that such contraventions created such a serious risk of death or serious injury that it was necessary to serve a prohibition notice.

During a visit on 27 May 2020 the service discovered people working in the prohibited areas of the premises.

Stuart Ruckledge, Staffordshire Enforcement Lead and Station Manager at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, praised the hard work and professionalism of the Fire Safety Officers involved in the case “This has been a long process and officers have supported Mr Yarnell, who has been compliant since these offences. The premises has now rectified all contraventions making it safer for employees and firefighters. Premier P Ltd has spent a considerable amount of money in order to fulfil their requirements under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which is reflected in the sentencing as are the challenges created by the pandemic. It is particularly encouraging that the courts have shown that fire safety within Staffordshire is taken very seriously, and we welcome the comments made by His Honour Judge Smith when passing sentence.  Fire safety deficiencies must be taken seriously, and the appropriate action taken when required. Business owners who do comply with their fire safety obligations also need to know that those who don’t will be challenged. Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service does and will always seek to work with and support business owners, particularly during the current economic climate. However, staff, members of the public and visitors using premises within Staffordshire need to feel reassured that they can do so safely. We hope that this prosecution sends out a message that we take fire safety matters very seriously, and that we are committed to keeping people safe.”

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