Mr Zamshed Alam, owner of the Bengal Raj Indian restaurant in Weston-Super-Mare was sentenced to six months behind bars last week after pleading guilty to eight offences under the fire safety order. An investigation last year found numerous safety failings, including:
- Failure to have a suitable Fire Risk Assessment carried out
- Failure to ensure the premises was equipped with appropriate fire detectors and alarms
- Failure to ensure that emergency routes and exits were fitted with adequate fire doors so that people could safely escape in the event of a fire
- The storage of items blocking the single means of escape route staircase on both the ground and first floor
- Failure to comply with a notice prohibiting the use of the premises for sleeping accommodation
His Honour Judge Patrick of Bristol Crown Court stated that “Mr Alam deliberately ignored warnings and advice from the fire service” consequently meaning that in the event of a fire it would have been difficult for employees to safely vacate the premises. He added that there was “clear evidence” the property had been used as sleeping accommodation following the serving of the prohibition notice.
Station Manager Steve Quinton said that as the responsible person “Mr Alam had a duty of care to his customers, staff and those sleeping in the building. The sentence handed out by the judge should serve as a warning to businesses of how seriously breaches of fire safety law are taken.” By not having adequate fire safety measures Mr Alam put “lives at risk”.
All businesses are required to comply with fire safety legislation and Mr Quinton hopes that “this case demonstrates our commitment to protect the lives of people in our community.”
He adds: “we always try to work with business to improve safety and avoid the need to prosecute, however Mr Alam wilfully ignored two Prohibition Notices by continuing to allow people to sleep in a property which had completely inadequate means of escape.” “Had there been a fire at the premises I’m in little doubt lives would have been lost.”
To ensure your restaurant is fully compliant with fire safety legislation, why not have a free comprehensive site survey? Call us on 0845 402 3045 to arrange a suitable time.