Dinner in a Death Trap: Bath Restaurant tells a Cautionary Tale
Commercial premises are rightly under many legal obligations when it comes to the safety of the public, no less so than restaurants, where multiple sources of open flames could lead to a rapidly spreading fire. When businesses fail in fulfilling their responsibilities, it is right that they are taken to task by the law – case and point made by a recent woeful tale of a Bath restaurant that showed complete disregard to their workers’ and diners’ safety.
Multiple fire Regulation Breaches – A Recipe for Disaster (and One Almighty Fine)
The Eastern Eye in Bath is a prime example of a business that completely dismissed the importance of taking preventative steps to reduce the risk of fire. So serious were its owner’s failings, that a jail sentence could be the ultimate outcome, should steps not be taken to address the issues in question.
Managing director of The Eastern Eye, Abdul Hadi Choudhury, felt the full force of the law having pled guilty to multiple serious breaches of fire safety regulations. In brief, the restaurant had was found to have:
– A fire escape that was both blocked up and unlit
– Fire doors that were faulty
– While fire alarms were installed none were in working order owing to a lack of power
– No fire risk assessment had been carried out
– No staff training records existed
– Some internal fire doors lacked the necessary self-closing devices,
– Other doors did have self-closing devices but were either propped open with wedges or were so poorly fitted they would be rendered useless in the event of a fire
So obvious were these issues that the investigation in question had come due to a report by a concerned member of the public. As an outcome of the November 2016 investigation the restaurant’s owner was prosecuted by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
“The fire safety audit and subsequent inspection carried out by our fire safety officers at the restaurant highlighted serious failings in relation to the legal responsibility of the owners to reduce the risk of fire within the building and ensure people can escape safely if there was a fire.
The sentence handed out by the judge in this case shows what can happen if a business doesn’t take its responsibilities seriously”.
An Imposing Fine – Food For Thought for Other Businesses
During sentencing in Bristol Crown Court, Judge Douglas Field summarised the many breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order Act 2005, describing a “compendium of multiple failings”. Judge Field noted that a kitchen fire would have had grave consequences for customers and staff alike, and that in all likelihood it would have been almost impossible for them to escape. The punishment for the restaurant was a hefty £70,000 fine, on top of which was a bill for the prosecution, totalling £8,381. Choudhury was also handed down a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; whilst this means there was no immediate prison sentence to serve, Choudhury is now on warning – should he commit another crime during the next 12 months he would face the initial six-months alongside any further sentence.
As a business owner, the rules, regulations and red tape surrounding fire safety can seem nothing short of intimidating. We can help you make sense of your obligations, and ensure that your premises is robustly safe for the public and your employees.
From design, supply and installation, through to fire safety training and ongoing maintenance, Argos Fire are a single solution, to the many challenges you face, and multiple obligations you must fulfil.