Big Rock Climbing Company fined over fire safety breaches

A climbing company which formerly operated a climbing centre in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, has been prosecuted and fined for breaching fire safety regulations.

The Big Rock Climbing Company, which used to run Climb Rochdale until it was taken over by the Pink Climbing Centre, was prosecuted by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority (GMFRA) after a member of staff made a complaint about fire doors which were locked.

A visit from a specialist fire protection officer in January 2012 led to the discovery of further fire safety failings. Problems included:

  • Blocked or locked fire exits
  • An unsafe escape route from the first floor
  • Inadequate fire safety training for staff, particularly on how to use and test fire alarms
  • Findings of a health & safety risk assessment which had been ignored

The failings at the climbing centre meant that if a fire had broken out, staff and visitors could have potentially been trapped inside. This could have led to a loss of life.

The company was found guilty of seven charges and was ordered to pay £14,000 in fines as well as £1,858 in court costs.

The prosecutor for GMFRA, Cassie Williams, said:

“All of doors out of the building were locked or blocked. Staff were not able to operate the fire alarm and when tested with the key, it didn’t work. This was a busy place and early warning is vital to ensure people can get out.”