The Health and Safety Executive have taken a Suffolk company to court after they were discovered to be putting lives of their employees at risk. The factory, located on an industrial estate close to Bury St Edmunds was being used to grow mushrooms. The factory was based in a disused office block, and it was also home to 37 employees.

An Unsafe Boiler and Several Failings Were Discovered

In the building there was an unsafe gas boiler which had not been maintained. The discovery was made by St Edmundsbury Borough council who informed the Health and Safety Executive. Their investigations show that the heating used in the accommodation part of the factory was provided by a boiler. The boiler had no safety certificate and had not been services by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The law states that this is a must for all landlords with gas boilers in their properties.

In addition to the boiler the HSE inspectors found numerous health and safety failings in the factory where mushrooms were being farmed such as:

  • Gates used by employees reaching the highest platforms were kept open
  • A HGV vehicle was being operated between sheds where employees often walked
  • Forklift trucks were being driven by untrained drivers
  • A knotted rope was used to tow equipment around the factory

Breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act

Suffolk Mushrooms Ltd admitted they were guilty for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The judge fined the company £10,000. They were also fined an additional £750 for failing to have a Gas Safety Report for the boiler. In addition to the fees the firm were ordered to pay £8,446.05 in court costs. The HSE inspectors said that there was no excuse possible as to why the company did not spend just a few hundred pounds on making sure the welfare of their employees was looked at. They had spent 1.5 million on refurbishing the factory and as many employees were not English speakers they firm were exploiting them.

Training can help to ensure that the health and safety laws are complied with at all times. You can find various health and safety training courses such as the NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety and SMSTS. Find out more by calling 0808 1966 830 today.