£67,145 fine for breaching health and safety laws

November 6, 2023

A company has been prosecuted after an employee suffered serious and life threatening injuries as a result of significant health and safety failings.

Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd and its Director pleaded guilty to multiple breaches of health and safety laws following investigations by Bedford Borough Council. The company and its Director were fined a total of £67,145 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs following the hearing at Luton Magistrates Court.

On 1 March 2022, Environmental Health Officers at Bedford Borough Council were alerted to a potentially life threating workplace accident at a warehouse located on Ampthill Road, Bedford. An employee had fallen approximately three metres from racking, sustaining life-threatening injuries.

Investigations identified multiple health and safety failings and significant failures to manage risks to the health and safety of employees. In particular, failings were identified in relation to the installation, inspection, maintenance, and use of the racking. Failures were also identified in the inspection and maintenance of a forklift truck used at the warehouse.

Employees had been directed to undertake work at height without adequate safety measures being implemented to protect their safety, leading to the serious injury of an employee.

The Court found that Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd and its Director had failed to implement recognised industry standards and allowed these breaches to persist over a significant period of time.

Councillor Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Regulatory Services, and Housing, expressed her concern and determination to ensure the safety of workers in Bedford Borough.

She stated: “The safety of our residents and employees is paramount. This case highlights the importance of strict adherence to health and safety regulations within the workplace and I would like to thank the officers involved for all their hard work. We will not tolerate negligence that puts lives at risk.

“Employers must recognise their responsibility to provide safe working environments for their employees. Bedford Borough Council will continue to rigorously enforce health and safety standards and concern for workers with determination, to ensure those businesses that fail to protect their employees, and others who may be affected by their activities, are held accountable.”

This is valid as of 6th November 2023.

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