24 Sep 2018

Bedding company fined £30,000 for safety failings



Staff had no training in Health & Safety and were told to use their 'common sense'

The company, which has now made the safety improvements, has been fined £32,000 and ordered to pay costs of almost £5,000 after admitting the breaches.

The dangerous state of the warehouse was discovered by an environmental health officer from the council during a routine inspection. The officer found several areas of damaged, bent and unsafe racking and saw staff using damaged ladders to reach goods at height. When the officer asked how staff get stock at the back of the pallet racking without leaning a long way out of the scissor lift or climbing onto the racking itself, staff and managers gave no explanation.

In his report, the environment health officer said: “This is one of the worst examples of poor health and safety standards I have seen in my professional career. The damaged racking is the worst example I have seen and to continue to use damaged racking and damaged ladders showed complete disregard for safety.”

You can read the full story here courtesy of the Manchester Evening News which includes images of some of the issues discovered: click here

In theory I like the idea of using ‘common sense’ as part of your safety policy but unfortunately not everyone has the same level of common sense, and some seem devoid of it completely. You also need to supply the necessary equipment to allow safe operation of tasks, without which common sense would tell me to walk away until it is safe to return.

It is scary that situations like this still occur in warehouses across the UK – with so much training and so many products available to ensure safety and understanding there can be no excuse for allowing staff to work in such dangerous conditions, nor for allowing equipment to fall into such levels of disrepair in the first place.

If these guys had invested just a small amount of money on a system such as Good to Go Safety it would have allowed employees to carry out routine daily checks of racking, ladders and forklifts and allowed them to spot faults early, before they developed into this dangerous level of wear and tear. By ignoring the need for training employees and ensuring routine equipment checks were carried out (and actioned upon) a low cost investment into the company’s safety programme was ignored which led to a significant £32k fine – now where is the common sense in that trail of thoughts?

It’s good to read that they have made the necessary safety improvements since the fine, it’s just a shame they left it so late. Hopefully it will serve a reminder to the many other similar companies out there that continue to ignore the need for safety checks. If you are one of those companies then please check out our products to see how they can help prevent you from being fined by ensuring equipment is maintained in good working order, as per your obligations under PUWER, LOLER and various other H&S Regulations.

By carrying our routine daily checks, recording and auctioning up on the findings you not only improve safety, you actually end up saving money on maintenance costs by repairing minor faults before they develop into something more serious. Our system also removes any doubts/uncertainties by clearly displaying the date and findings of the latest inspection and provides management copies as part of a paper audit trail – documenting a good and reliable safety & maintenance programme.

It really isn’t worth ignoring the warning signs, simply because an accident hasn’t happened YET – you are still liable to prosecution simply by placing employees in danger.

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