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Lessons Must Be Learned From Landmark Fire Safety Trial

Expert Comments On Fine Over Hotel Blaze


A workplace injury expert at Irwin Mitchell has welcomed the outcome of a landmark trial last month which saw a hotel owner fined in relation to a series of fire safety failings.

Chumleigh Lodge Hotel Limited and its director Michael Wilson were each fined a total of £210,000 in relation to the incident in May 2008, when London Fire Brigade was called to attend a fire at the Finchley hotel.

Following the blaze, safety inspectors raised a number of safety concerns including defective fire doors, blocked escape routes and no smoke alarms in some of the rooms. A suitable risk assessment could also not be provided, while some staff did not have adequate safety training.

The case was notable as it is believed to be the first time that a jury convicted a defendant under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Stephen Nye, a workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who acts for those seriously injured as a result of safety failings, said: “The prosecution in relation to this case sends out a clear message to hoteliers that the issue of fire safety simply cannot be ignored.

“The safety of both staff and guests staying at hotels deserve to know that their wellbeing is a fundamental priority, but the concerns raised by inspectors in this case are quite shocking and should not be repeated in the future.

“Hoteliers have a real responsibility on fire safety, alongside other issues including hygiene, and it is vital that all operators ensure they are following the necessary guidelines. Otherwise, there could be significant consequences.”