Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading resource for security and fire news in the industry. James was previously Editor of Professional Heating & Plumbing Installer magazine.
July 30, 2020

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Vulnerable workers: A Barbour guide

Prosecutions

Poor lighting leads to fire escape death and £80,000 fine for Aberdeen Market

Following the death of Mr Frank Finnie in June 2018, the operator of Aberdeen Market has been fined £80,000 after admitting to safety failures.

Mr Finnie was discovered at the bottom of a fire escape stairwell at the market, with poor lighting found to be the primary cause of the incident after an investigation was carried out. The operator has been prosecuted over a contravention of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005.

The subsequent investigation found that the “Market Village Company Ltd failed to maintain the lighting in the stairwell”.

Head of the Crown Office’s Health and Safety Management Unit, noted that the incident was “entirely forseeable”, and that “this conviction should serve as a reminder to other companies to adhere to the regulations and that failure to do so can have tragic consequences”.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England, the maintenance and access to emergency/fire escapes come under the jurisdiction of the responsible person(s) of a non-domestic premises. This also falls under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, as demonstrated by this case. They should form a crucial part of a property’s fire safety plan.

As Firesafe advises, “emergency routes and fire exits must be well lit and indicated by appropriate signs”, while “in locations that require illumination, emergency lighting of adequate intensity must be provided in case the normal lighting fails”.

Further advice on emergency exits can be found, here. 

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Michael Floyd
Michael Floyd
July 30, 2020 11:32 am

This case demonstrates why F&RS need to have sufficient resources to inspect a range of public access buildings where escape risks are elevated. It is so straightforward to get emergency right, it beggars belief that a fatality should occur in what should be a safe space.