News Archive 2009
This is where you will find archived stories of interest from 2009. All items were originally on the latest news page.
Factory owner found guilty of manslaughter over fatal firework blast.
A firework factory owner has been convicted of the manslaughter of two firemen killed in an explosion at the site. More details
A huge chemical blaze in Lancashire, which closed two motorways, has led to the prosecution of an international waste-management company.
Sections of the M6 and M55 were shut for several hours during the morning commute on 2 July 2007, while 66 fire-fighters tackled the fire at the Red Scar Industrial Estate in Preston. More details
High street retailer New Look has been fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £136,052 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of fire safety legislation, following a serious fire at its Oxford Street store in London.
Thirty five fire engines and around 150 firefighters attended the fire on 26 April 2007, when around 450 people form the store and surrounding premises were evacuated. The first call to the fire service did not come until an office worker in an adjacent building took action, and the delay meant that the fire had already broken through the second floor windows when firefighters arrived. Despite the building's fire alarm sounding, the alarm was reset on at least one occasion, said London Fire Brigade. More details
About 310 people have been forced to leave their homes after a fire broke out in south London.
More than 150 firefighters have been tackling the fire which engulfed a construction site in Carisbrooke Gardens in Peckham on Thursday 26 November. It spread to two blocks of maisonettes and a destroyed a pub. Ten people, including two police officers, received hospital treatment for minor injuries. The fire, which began on a development where 39 flats were being built, has damaged property and buildings in Sumner Road and Rosemary Road. Source: BBC
Around 118 people were forced to evacuate when a fire broke out at a Hertfordshire sheltered housing block for elderly people.
Firefighters attended the Wormley Court block of warden-controlled flats in Broxbourne just before 4.00pm on Thursday 19 November and had to rescue 20 people from the building. At the height of the blaze, 12 appliances were in attendance and firefighters used six jets and an aerial ladder to tackle the fire. Two people were taken to hospital as a precaution against smoke inhalation. The fire was under control after an hour and extinguished at around 10.15pm. Thankfully no one was injured. Source: FSE
Merseyside fire crews came under attack as they responded to calls on Bonfire night.
The fire and rescue service answered a total of 367 calls between 1700 and 2200 GMT on 5 November, figures which were well down on 2008. Around 30 youths threw bricks at crews who were responding to a blaze on Copy Lane in Netherton. Appliances were also targeted in Kirkby and Whiston.
However there were less prank calls made and thankfully no injuries to fire crews. Source: BBC
A timber-frame block of flats under construction in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire has been destroyed in a fire. More than 40 firefighters attended the blaze which was well developed by the time they arrived.
Fire crews had to rescue two people who became trapped in a neighbouring house and who were taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation. The house was damaged by smoke and radiated heat from the fire. It took three hours to bring the fire under control and firefighters were on the scene for around 24 hours. Source: FSE
We have just carried out Confined Space training on Saipem 7000, the world's second largest crane vessel.
We ran a total of six confined space training courses for 38 delegates on-board the vessel, which was being readied for a long journey to Brazil at the time. More details
Man Breaks 15 laws in 11 minutes
A driver has confounded Swiss police by committing 15 traffic violations in just over 10 minutes, officials say. The 47-year-old initially raced past an unmarked police car in heavy rain at 160 km/h (100mph) before weaving close to other cars and the road's kerb.
The serial offender clocked up further offences for speeding, driving on the hard shoulder, running a set of red lights and failing to stop for police. When finally pulled over by St Gallen police, he failed a drugs test. The unnamed driver, who lives near Zurich, faces a lengthy driving ban and a possible jail sentence when he appears before a Swiss court.
"I can't remember a case this serious," a police spokeswoman told the BBC of Sunday's infringement spree. "It's remarkable." Source: BBC
Do you know what regulations you need to comply with?
You could easily be racking up a range of fines for your business by failing to comply with health and safety law. We are here to help you make sense of the chaos - call 01524 784356 for assistance today.
A BBC investigation has revealed that nearly 500 social housing
blocks in London alone do not have a valid fire risk assessment in place.
This shocking news comes almost three months after the fire at Lakanal House claimed the lives of six people.
See the full BBC Report
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Around 160 firefighters have tackled a large fire following an explosion at a plastics factory in Derbyshire.
The fire broke out after an explosion at the Stirling Lloyd factory in New Mills, which is used to manufacture polymer resins for the construction industry. According to the Press Association, nearby residents reported large clouds of black smoke and huge flames visible over rooftops after hearing one large explosion at around 6.45 pm, followed by a series of smaller ones. Dozens of people were evacuated from their homes. Source: FSE
View photos from a live exercise at Akcros Chemicals.
The exercise was organised by Steve White, (Akcros Chemicals) Terry Hand, (Greater Manchester Fire Service) and Brian Gregory (Safety Management) and was designed to test the company’s emergency response in line with their responsibilities under COMAH. More details
Three people have been rescued by a member of the public from a shop fire in north London.
One of those rescued from the blaze at in Church Street in Edmonton was a child. The man used a builder's ladder to help the people who had become trapped in flats above the store. Firefighters rescued a further six people. Source: BBC News
This article from Safety and Health Practitioner emphasises the importance of using credible contractors for installing and maintaining fire safety equipment and explains how to identify them. Read it here
If you need assistance with the supply and fitting of fire alarms and emergency lighting we are here to help.
Punch Pub Company guilty of fire safety breaches.
A national pub group has been ordered to pay over £17,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to serious breaches of fire safety legislation following a prosecution brought by the London Fire Brigade.
Punch Pub Company Limited (formerly known as Spirit Group Limited) admitted guilt on two contraventions of the Fire Safety Order. Sentencing occurred on Thursday 3 September 2009 at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court. More details
Two recent incidents of car park arson have caused great concern to the Police and Fire Service.
Firstly, an arson investigation is under way after six vehicles were damaged in an arson attack on a hotel car park. Firefighters from Yaxley fought the blaze at the Premier Travel Inn, near the A1(M) at Norman Cross, Peterborough, for two hours. When they arrived, they found a white Vauxhall Corsa that was well alight. The fire had spread to a car on the left and a van on the right and three cars in front of the Corsa suffered heat damage. Source: Peterborough Today
Secondly, Police are looking for information after a car was set alight in
a school car park.
Offenders set fire to a silver Nissan Micra, parked in Ashcombe School, Dorking.
Firefighters from Dorking battled with blazing fuel, which poured from the vehicle after its petrol tank ruptured.
They were on the scene for an hour before the blaze was extinguished using 40 litres of foam. Source: This is Surrey Today
The failure of Britain's hotels to comply with fire safety regulations is putting holidaymakers' at risk. At this report from the Independent on Sunday outlines, many hotels are failing to maintain smoke alarms, keep fire exits clear and train their staff.
These are the absolute basics of safety in any business, especially in an industry whose primary focus is to provide somewhere safe and warm for paying customers to sleep. The Fire Service believes there is an education issue to be addressed, as many hoteliers believe they are still covered by ancient fire certificates and do not realise they are failing to comply with the Fire Safety Order.
If you are planning a stay at a hotel anytime soon, don't be afraid to ask to see the Fire Risk Assessment. It's not just the sun that can burn you on holiday!
Proving that the Fire Service shows no mercy when it comes to Fire Safety Order compliance, a church organisation has been ordered to pay £30,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of fire safety legislation following a prosecution brought by London Fire Brigade.
The organisation – Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International – pleaded guilty to three contraventions of the Fire Safety Order.
When the premises were inspected by the fire brigade in January 2008, around 1200 people were found to be in the main hall during a service. One fire exit could not be accessed as it was blocked by a steel bar, while another adjoining fire exit was chained and locked. The risk of an explosive and fast spreading fire was increased by what was described as the haphazard storage of 18 LPG and butane bottles and the use of naked flame heaters inside the main hall. Source: FSE
A hotel has been destroyed and hundreds of people were led to safety during a fire in Blackpool.
About 100 firefighters tackled flames at the six-storey Grand Hotel in Station Road on Monday night (27th July).
Some 100 people were evacuated from 60 holiday flats and a nightclub as a fire service spokesman described the scene as "like something from the Blitz". Source: BBC
Don't let it happen to you!
This is the second large blaze in the local area during recent months (see here for the first), and outlines the importance of ensuring your Fire Risk Assessment is up-to-date and that your staff have had adequate fire safety training.
UPDATE - Portable TV to blame
Initial investigations have found that the fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell on 3 July was caused by an electrical fault in a portable TV set. The announcement was made by DI Rick Murphy on behalf of the joint investigation by the police, London Fire Brigade and the Forensic Science Service. Source: FSE
The recent fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell shows how quickly a blaze can rage out of control and the six deaths remind all safety professionals of the need to stay on top of their fire safety measures.
If you are a provider of accommodation, be it in the Local Authority Housing Sector or the Private Housing Sector, (Housing Associations, Managed Housing of Multiple Occupation etc.) then you are bound to have concerns and questions to be answered. We want to help you
Failure to rectify the problems highlighted by a fire safety inspection has cost one company director dearly.
In a relatively unusual case, a company director (as opposed to an actual company) has been prosecuted and fined £5,500 by the Fire Service for failing to comply with the Fire Safety Order.
A director of Maureen O'Brien Ltd (in administration) – the company
which formerly owned the high street chain Joy – has been ordered to pay
over £5,500 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of
fire safety legislation.
Brian Coleman, chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority said: “This is an unusual case, in that Maureen O'Brien Limited was going into administration, meaning it was not in the public interest to prosecute the company. However, where the evidence exists, we will prosecute individuals who are responsible for fire safety and do not take these responsibilities seriously.
Safety Management (UK) not only provides Fire Risk Assessments, but we can also support you in ensuring that the required follow-up work is completed to approved standards. For more details on this, call us on 01524 784356 or e-mail us
Fire resistant roofing helps to ensure play at Wimbledon
This year marked the debut of a remarkable new roof at Wimbledon. The fixed sections of the roof, completed last year, were constructed using a fire resistant system from Kingspan Insulated Panels. The KS500 Kingzip standing seam system with a stucco embossed mill finish was chosen by architects HOK Sport.
Kingspan claims the system is the only composite panel standing seam system
with greater installation efficiency over built-up alternatives. Versatility
is offered by the availability of both 500mm and 1000mm cover widths, with
the 500mm option used for more than 70 different roof parts on centre court.
We now have the final total in for Brian’s charity fun run earlier this year - More Details
Two landlords of bedsit accommodation in north London have been sentenced to six months' imprisonment and ordered to pay £5000 costs each for breaching fire safety legislation. The prosecution followed a fire on 31 March 2007 at a house converted into bedsits on Hampden Road, London N8.
Michael de Havilland and Sally Fox of Muswell Hill were sentenced
at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday 12 June, after previously pleading
guilty to several breaches of the Fire Safety Order.
Fire Rips Through Morecambe Factory
More than 100 people were evacuated in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday
(25th May) as fire ripped through a Morecambe factory.
Around 80 firefighters from across the county tackled the blaze at the Two Sisters chicken processing plant (formerly Gotts) which has been devastated by the fire.
The alarm was raised by the security guard at 2.30am and the Morecambe crew based just yards away from the scene were first to arrive.
Source: Lancaster Guardian.
Shell Fined £345,000 Under FSO
In what is the largest penalty under the legislation to date, Shell International Ltd has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaches of the Fire Safety Order at its UK headquarters in central London.
The London Fire Brigade prosecuted the company following two small fires
in the space of three weeks at the Shell Centre on London's South Bank. A subsequent
inspection on 12 January 2007 found extensive breaches including blocked escape
routes and fire exits, defective fire doors and excessive fire loading. The
fire loading had been dramatically increased because of refurbishments taking
place in the upper floors.
Fire at the Fire College
A large fire on Saturday at the Fire Service College in Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire destroyed 11 fire engines valued at £1.3m and the workshop they were kept in.
Fire crews contained the fire in the workshop, stopping it from spreading
to an adjacent bay housing more fire appliances, many of which were moved to
safety. The incident was under control by around 2.30pm.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway.
Swine Flu - a full briefing
Everything you could ever want to know about swine flu, including what you can do as an employer to help minimise the risk of contamination
Find out more.
We are off to the Facilities Show 2009 at the Birmingham NEC from the 12th-14th May.
We are hosting our own stand (D22 in Hall 1) for this prestigious three-day event and we would like to see as many friendly faces as possible.
Our leader, Brian Gregory, has been invited to speak at this prestigious event on the subject of Fire Risk Assessment and will be focusing his presentation on Fire Regulations and Cost Effective Compliance.
Speaking about this invitation, Brian said, “This topic is especially important in the present economic climate, as everybody's budgets are being cut, but it is crucial that safety is not compromised as a result. We at Safety Management pride ourselves on our record of compliance with the Fire Safety Order when it comes to Fire Risk Assessment and are proud to be invited to advise other firms on this topic.”
Visitors will have access to a full range of promotional material (including an exciting new corporate brochure) as well as one-to-one consultations on any aspect of health and safety, interactive demonstrations and videos, not to mention an excellent supply of FREE biscuits.
Further details coming soon.
Recent news that condom manufacturer Durex is enjoying a sales boom is further evidence that people are not prepared to compromise safety during the credit crunch. Source: BBC News
Something we all take for granted is light, both during the day and when it gets dark. But what about in an emergency? Alarms and Lighting
Fire callout leads to cannabis factory haul
More than £500,000 worth of cannabis plants were uncovered at a warehouse on an industrial estate, after firefighters and police were called to deal with a fire at a garage next door.
Police discovered more than 1200 cannabis plants at the warehouse on the Norwood Industrial Estate in Whitburn, West Lothian. The haul is said to be one of the biggest in Scotland.
Firefighters were also called last month to a blaze at a Sheffield house, which was being used to cultivate cannabis. The property was empty when the fire broke out in the early evening, but smoke affected the houses on either side of the property. Four fire engines and an aerial ladder platform were used to tackle the fire.
There are indications that the growing incidence of domestically cultivated cannabis is leading to an increasing number of fires, often in houses. Source: FSE
Spillages on site can have far reaching effects on your business, that is why it is critical that all spillages or loss of containments are controlled as quickly and safely as possible.
We have gathered three recent case studies to demonstrate the different types of spillages and their effects.
The credit crunch shows no sign of easing any time soon, so with this in mind we have put together four top tips to help save unnecessary outlay during these frugal times:
- Keep your fire alarm serviced
- Ensure your first-aiders complete their refresher training
- Check your fire doors open fully
- Ensure escape routes are free of plants and weeds
A London landlord has become the first person to be jailed under new fire safety regulations after one of his tenants died in a house fire. Mehmat Parlak was sentenced to four months in prison and his company, Watchacre Properties, was fined £21,000 at Wood Green crown court.
He admitting eight breaches of the Fire Safety Order, which came into force in October 2006. The tenant, Abdualla Gardoon, died following a fire in a house in multiple occupation owned by Mr Parlak on Ruskin Road, Tottenham, in September 2007. Source: CIEH
Southern Cross Healthcare Limited was ordered to pay out £100,000 after pleading guilty to charges relating to inadequate fire safety standards at one of its care homes.
The case was mounted by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service after a boiler room fire at Norfolk House in Weybridge in January 2007. The investigation found that the fire started as a result of accumulated general rubbish and storage in the boiler room over a period of time.
Staff had not been instructed in the findings of the fire risk assessment, which had identified that the boiler room was a high fire risk area that should not be used as a store. In addition, the company did not have an adequate system in place for reviewing fire safety arrangements at the home. Source: FSE
A property manager in west London was fined £5,600 and ordered to pay substantial costs after being found guilty of seven breaches of the Order. The case related to a fire at a house converted into flats in Hayes in September 2007. Two residents were hurt as they escaped by jumping from a first-floor window.
The court heard that Armajit Singh did not own the premises, but was managing it for his uncle and was responsible for maintenance and repairs.
The offences included failing to properly assess the fire risks, and failing to provide a smoke alarm and ensure the escape route was protected by fire-resistant doors. Source: FSE
A father and son have had to pay over £50,000 in costs and fines following a fire in 2007 from which their tenants had to be rescued.
Brian Murdoch, owner of the premises in Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to six charges under the Fire Safety Order, while his son David, who looked after the day to day running of the building, pleaded guilty to eight charges.
The charges against the two men included the failure to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, failure to ensure that the premises and equipment were subject to suitable maintenance and were in good repair, and failure to co-operate as far as necessary to comply with the Fire Safety Order.
The two men were sentenced last week by district judge Brian Morgan at Kidderminster Magistrates Court. The judge awarded costs of £39,695 to Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Authority. Both father and son were fined a total of £11,600. During the course of the proceedings the judge commented on the "efficiency and effectiveness" of the fire service following the fire at the premises in July 2007. Source: FSE
The Health and Safety of Great Britain \\ Be part of the solution
The HSE Board are inviting members of the public to help with their mission
- to prevent death, injury and ill-health in Great Britain's workplaces - by
becoming part of the solution. This takes the form of a consultation exercise
and is a chance to give your opinions on their system and strategy.
Our 36 page log book is a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide to creating a risk assessment for your childcare business. All providers of childcare need to have a risk assessment in place to protect the children in their care, themselves, the businesses, and comply with OFSTED's Standards.
Congratulations to Dave Johnstone who was the winner of our Christmas competition. The prize was £100 for a charity of the winner's choice, and Dave chose The Royal British Legion.
Good job, very nice people and happy with the work SMUK do for us (Bank of China)