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A firm which ignored safety notices has been fined

31st October 2011

City of London Magistrates’ Court heard that the firm in Battersea failed to act on safety instructions issued after a routine inspection in May 2010, which would have aided staff with moving heavy loads.

The first Improvement Notice requested that bags of laundry, amongst other items, were removed from walkways which were being obstructed, including a stairway and the entrance to a female staff toilet.

The second notice required an imminent review and improvements to prevent staff from sustaining an injury from lifting and handling laundry.

It was reported that when HSE representatives returned for a second inspection two months later, the firm had taken no measures to comply with the Improvement Notices. The HSE observed that members of staff were still carrying heavy loads through blocked walkways which could have resulted in tripping accidents.

HSE inspector, Clare Hawkes said, “The law requires employers to provide walkways that are clear of obstructions so employees can move around freely and safely without risking injury from trips and falls.

“Also where employees are at risk of injuring themselves from handling heavy and cumbersome loads, and from awkward postures, the employer must take action to reduce those risks. Yet [the firm] turned a blind eye to both of these requirements.”

It has not been reported whether any workers sustained a personal injury. The firm was fined £2,000 and was also ordered to pay £5,062 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of Section 33 (1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

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