Firm fined for worker’s injury

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An accident investigation by Luton Borough Council has resulted in a company being fined more than £13,000 after pleading guilty to three offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

In March 2015 an accident occurred at Chamberlain Holdings PLC’s store room on the Britannia Estate, Leagrave Road, Luton, resulting in an employee in their maintenance team receiving a serious injury to two of their fingers through contact with the unguarded blade of a table saw.

The Council’s Food, Safety and Environment Team following a site visit prohibited the use of the saw. The subsequent investigation found that the company had not identified the risk posed by the saw and that it had not been adequately maintained to ensure it was safe to use.

The case was sentenced in January, when the judge commented on how the friendly, family nature of the firm impacted upon and aggravated the situation in that the injured party was trusted to get on with jobs in a cost efficient way. In mitigation he commented on how there was now a new health and Safety culture within the company who had, since the accident, hired an external consultant, provided training for staff and outsourced work of that nature

The company was fined a total of £12,000 with costs of £3,710 awarded to the council and a surcharge of £120. The extent of the injury means that the employee is no longer able to work as a carpenter.

Councillor Rachel Hopkins, Portfolio Holder, said: “Health and Safety law lays down basic standards for businesses to help keep employees safe. Safety for employees can be easily achieved by any business and should not require any great expense or effort. It is inexcusable to allow employees to use dangerous, unmaintained and unguarded equipment and to ignore simple principles of safety. Businesses that don’t protect the health of their employees face prosecution and fines.”

For H & S advice go to www.luton.gov.uk/healthandsafety and www.hse.gov.uk.