Southern Cross Healthcare Limited, a leading provider of Care Homes in the UK, with over 730 care homes and 37,000 beds nationwide 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 launched by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service after a boiler room fire at Norfolk House in Weybridge, Surrey in January 2007. An investigation found that general rubbish and storage materials had been allowed to accumulate in the boiler room over a long period of time, and that this negligence had resulted in a fire breaking out on the premises.
Staff had not been instructed in the findings of a fire risk assessment, which had identified that the boiler room was a high fire risk area and that it should not have been used as a store. In addition, the company did not have an adequate system in place for reviewing fire safety arrangements at the home.
Darren Baird, Managing Director of Total Fire Services Ltd, one of the UK’s most prominent fire safety consultancy services, commented, “Under the requirements of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety order (RRFSO) 2005, the responsible person for the premises must ensure that a fire safety risk assessment is completed regularly and that the results of the assessment should be made easily available to all members of staff, employees working or living in the building.”
Darren added, “Failure to do so may lead to prosecution and an appropriate fine, as was the case for both Southern Cross Healthcare.”