Microbrewery fined £120,000 for breach of fire safety laws

On 10th February 2021, Brewhouse and Kitchen pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Order including:

  • Failure to take General Fire Precautions;
  • Failure to ensure adequate Fire Safety Arrangements;
  • Failure to ensure adequate Fire Detection and Firefighting Equipment; and
  • Failure to ensure adequate Emergency Escape Routes and Exits.

The court found in favour of AF&RS and the Bristol based microbrewery was fined a total of £120,000 plus £12,000 in costs.

Karl Venn, Station Manager and Head of Fire Safety said, “This prosecution highlights that while we will always seek to work with business owners to maintain fire safety standards in premises we won’t hesitate to prosecute where necessary. I would like to commend Brewhouse & Kitchen for accepting responsibility and entering an early plea in this case which assisted in bringing it to an early resolution. All businesses are required to comply with fire safety legislation and while prosecution is considered a last resort, we first and foremost have a duty to keep our communities safe and ensure residents aren’t put at risk. Although Brewhouse & Kitchen had a previous good record of Fire Safety the substantial fine handed out by the judge in this case, should serve as a warning to any business as to how seriously breaches of fire safety law are taken.”

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales.  A responsible person must carry out a fire risk assessment and implement and maintain a fire management plan.

In a statement, Brewhouse and Kitchen said, “Brewhouse and Kitchen prides itself on being a well-run and conscientious company and we take fire safety seriously. During the Autumn of 2018, our Bristol venue had a small chimney fire; the event was dealt with quickly, no persons were hurt or injured and the team responded correctly in accordance with their training. Avon and Somerset Fire Service attended the incident and once the fire was extinguished and the area made safe, the business was able to continue to operate. Subsequent to this incident, it was made clear to the company that certain important actions related to a Fire Risk Assessment in 2016 had not been dealt with correctly in relation to the upper floor non trading areas. Since that period there has been a wholesale change of the company’s operations team, new systems and processes are now in place, and the company has taken significant learning from this matter. Brewhouse and Kitchen has an excellent record to date on all matters of fire safety, licensing, health and safety and food hygiene. The mistakes that were found in this case have already driven senior management focus and substantial, positive changes as to how the company manages fire safety. However, on this occasion the company recognises it could have done better and fully accepts its responsibility in this matter.”

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