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Company director fined for fire safety breaches

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.

Girish Chadha was fined £500 for 11 contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The case was held on Tuesday 23 June at the Inner London Crown Court. According to the London Fire Brigade which brought the prosecution, as a result of the company going into administration the defendant’s financial position had to be taken into account when setting the level of the fines.

A fire safety inspection was carried out in July 2007 at Joy’s headquarters at 432 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton. The inspecting officer found a number of fire safety contraventions; these included no emergency procedures, excessive storage in the escape routes and no appropriate fire safety training for staff. An enforcement notice was served and Mr Chadha was instructed to act upon its findings.

A follow up inspection took place on 12 December 2007 which discovered that the enforcement notice had not been complied with.

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.

“I urge landlords, business owners and employers to remember that fire safety is a key part of running any business. You must make yourself aware of the regulations and undertake a fire safety risk assessment, which is now mandatory.”


Contact: Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary on 07710 618909 or GMB Press Office: Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.</P

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