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Shell fined over £300,000 for fire safety breaches

05 June 2009

Shell International was fined over £300,000 on 1st June over problems in fire safety at one of it’s main offices in central London, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said. The company was also ordered to pay £45,000 in costs. Shell pleaded guilty at Inner London crown court to three breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This is the largest fine ever imposed under the measure.

Shell fined £300,000 for fire safety breaches
Shell fined £300,000 for fire safety breaches

The LFB prosecution followed two separate small fires in three weeks at the Shell Centre on York Road, Waterloo. Following an inspection in January 2007, fire officers found extensive breaches, including blocked escape routes and fire exits, defective fire doors and excessive fire loading. The fire loading had been dramatically increased because of refurbishments taking place in the upper floors.

No-one was hurt by the fires, and appropriate measures were taken to protect staff. Shell has stated that they have put things right immediately and have also had an independent review of their fire safety plans and condition of the building.

Although this incident did not result in any fatalities or accidents, this conviction shows that major companies are not exempt from prosecution and must take their responsibilities seriously. It is important for fire risk assessments to be reviewed or updated regularly to prevent the condition of current fire precautions from deteriorating.

Shell employs more than 8,000 people in the UK. The London Shell Centre, which is 27 storeys tall, holds close to 2,500 people.

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