A luxury bedroom furniture company has been fined £113,000 after health and safety breaches resulted in one of their employees being injured.
Representatives of And So To Bed Ltd appeared in Poole Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 28 August after being prosecuted by West Dorset District Council for breaches of Sections 2(1) and 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and of Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company entered guilty pleas to both charges.
Fall from height
The court heard how, on 1 February 2017, a member of staff working in the company’s warehouse at Pymore, Bridport, fell around seven feet from a make-shift mobile elevated working platform. The platform was attached to a forklift truck and was open sided.
The employee involved sustained injuries to his knee and face but the incident could have resulted in death or life changing injuries.
Poor health and safety practice
An investigation at the time of the incident by Environment Health officers working for West Dorset District Council found that the company had poor health and safety practices associated with this work activity including insufficient risk assessment. There was inadequate personal protective equipment provided for employees and no safe system to address the risk of employees falling from the platform.
A health & safety audit report from as far back as 2006 commented that use of the make-shift platform was “unacceptable”. However the investigation found that despite a safer system being purchased by the company, the dangerous platform had continued to be used on an almost daily basis.
And So To Bed Ltd of Pymore Mills, Pymore, Bridport, Dorset was fined £113,000 ordered to pay costs of £6,924 and a victim surcharge of £170.
In mitigation the judge found that after the accident the company had addressed its health and safety failings and implemented a new health and safety regime.
The Judge thanked the council for a well presented case.