London Fire Brigade

Celebrity hair salon fined for ignoring fire safety laws

18 September 2012

A West End hair salon, owned by celebrity hairdresser Daniel Hersheson, has been ordered to pay £40,000 in fines and costs for ignoring fire safety laws, following a successful prosecution by London Fire Brigade.

The court case follows a fire in Mr Hersheson’s  flagship boutique in Conduit Street on 26 May 2009, in which a member of staff was badly burnt when candles in the shop, which were being used to create atmosphere, lit her skirt.

According  to statements gathered by fire safety inspectors following the incident,  the injured female member of staff had to run to different parts of the building trying to find water and assistance to put the fire out. No fire alarm sounded, no-one appeared to know what to do and no first aid was administered before paramedics arrived. The member of staff was taken to hospital where she was found to have suffered third degree burns.

The London Fire Brigade were not called to the fire but attended the salon on 29 May to conduct a fire safety inspection, during which a number of serious fire safety concerns were identified. Fire doors were found to be propped open, rather than closed, there was storage obstructing some of the corridors and  fire detection in the building was found to be inadequate.

The company was also unable to provide  an adequate fire risk assessment, had  failed to put in place appropriate procedures to be followed in the event of a fire and had failed to provide staff with adequate fire safety training.

Rudan Ltd, trading as Daniel Hersheson, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005  - failure to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and failure to provide staff with adequate and regular safety training. The defendants were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court today (Tuesday 18 September).

London Fire Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation Lee Phillpotts said:

“Business owners have a clear responsibility under fire safety law to ensure that both the public and their employees are safe from the risk of fire. This verdict sends a clear message that if these responsibilities are ignored we will not hesitate in prosecuting and serious penalties are likely to be imposed.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Phillpotts added that the incident also served as a reminder to people to take care when using candles.

“People should always be extremely careful when using candles. You should never leave them unattended and keep them well away from any flammable materials.”

Ends

Fine of £10,000 for each of the two offences and £20,000 costs.