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South Wales care home fined £24,000 for safety breaches

Breaksea Residential Care Home in Porthcawl

A South Wales care home operator has pleaded guilty to breaches of fire safety regulations at a residential care home in Porthcawl and been ordered to pay £24,000 in fines plus £9,930.70 in costs.

Breaksea Residential Care Homes Ltd. was sentenced on 2 March 2020 at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court following a successful prosecution by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS).

Breaksea was found to have committed three offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in relation to Newton Care Home in Porthcawl; a private care home containing over thirty.

Judge Stephen Harmes ordered that the company pays the total sum of £33,930.70 within 56 days.

The offences related to fire safety arrangements including fire safety training for staff and a failure to conduct appropriate evacuation drills.

These measures are essential if occupants are to escape safely in the event of a fire.

In summing up, Judge Harmes said “there was a clear risk because of penny-pinching” and that Breaksea had been “putting profit before safety”.

Owen Jayne, Group Manager Head of Business Fire Safety Department for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Our role is to work with businesses across South Wales to support them to protect businesses and occupants from the risk of fire.  The fire safety legislation we enforce, known as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, is designed to keep occupants safe.  Where we find breaches of this legislation it is our duty to take action to prevent death or serious injury.

“The decision to prosecute businesses is never taken lightly, however in this case there was a serious risk to vulnerable residents and this was attributed directly to the actions, or rather the lack of actions of the company responsible”.

“There is no satisfaction in seeing Breaksea Residential Care Homes Ltd., being punished for their failure to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 but we are pleased that the judge recognised the risks and the severity of the sentence reflects the seriousness with which the court views breaches of the fire safety regulations.”

If you have concerns about fire safety or your responsibilities for your business and would like more information about the Fire Safety Order (2005) you can visit https://www.southwales-fire.gov.uk/your-safety-wellbeing/in-business/.