South Wales’ licensed premises biggest challenge for fire safety
Fire and Rescue Service sharing good practice during national Business Safety Week
Since 2013, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) and its Business Fire Safety department have found that of the 5,315 businesses audited, licensed premises are the most at risk from fire and also for breaching fire safety regulation.
Statistics show that Food and Drink (licensed) premises have seen the highest number of commercial fires in the last three years with 137, closely followed by Industrial Manufacturing (135) and Retail (125) out of a total of 819 fires.
As part of the CFOA Business Safety Week, SWFRS is hoping to raise awareness of how businesses are more aware of their fire safety responsibilities to ensure that their customers, employees and premises are protected from the risk of fire. However, if a business does not comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order or are seen as deficient against the Order, then SWFRS will issue Enforcement or Prohibition Notices; since 2013, the Service has issued 178 and 27 Notices respectively.
SWFRS is asking businesses to:
- Work with the Service to ensure their premises are safe and update risk assessments in response to changes in the business e.g. expansion
- Help reduce the number of false alarms which drain time and resources
- Help protect themselves from arson
- Make sure fire safety information is shared with staff
Steve Rossiter, Head of Business Fire Safety in South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said, “This Business Safety Week is about making sure that the businesses of South Wales are aware of the Fire Safety Order and how it impacts on their businesses, premises, employees and their customers. As a department, we work closely with businesses to support them to they are able to protect themselves from risk.
“Prosecutions and the issuing of Notices to our business community is a last resort for us as a Service and we are looking to engage with as many business owners as possible over the coming weeks and months, so they are more informed and have a point of contact in us as a Service.”
In the last three years, SWFRS has successfully prosecuted a number of responsible persons for their failure to comply with fire safety legislation. A total of 117 offences were heard in Court, with over £175,000 of fines secured and recovered costs of almost £73,000. There have also been three custodial sentences – suspended in each case – and two community orders totalling 250 hours.
The most common articles of the Fire Safety Order businesses were deficient against were:
- Article 14 – Emergency Routes and Exits (985 businesses)
- Article 17 – Maintenance (830 businesses)
- Article 9 – Risk Assessment (576 businesses)
For more information about Business Safety Week and how SWFRS can support your business visit, www.southwales-fire.gov.uk or follow the #BSW16 tag on social media.