Kitchen worktop company gets £10,000 fine for ignoring HSE Improvement Notices

Kitchen worktop company The Solid Surface Shop UK Ltd has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £6,181.51 costs for ignoring five Improvement Notices from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard this month (16 July) that during an inspection in March 2016 an HSE Inspector found that there was a poor standard of health & safety management, including significant accumulations of dust around the firm's premises on Henry Street in Sheffield.

Local exhaust ventilation units present had not been subjected to thorough examination and test and no risk or hazardous substance assessments had been completed.

The company was served with five Improvement Notices. The notices required thorough examination of local exhaust ventilation, monitoring for dusts including respirable crystalline silica, a system to manage respiratory protective equipment, and assessments of the risk from noise and hand arm vibration injuries.

A subsequent investigation by the HSE found that the Improvement Notices, which were hand delivered to the firm and discussed with two of the directors, had been ignored. Despite extensions to the compliance dates for all the notices being given, repeated phone calls, emails and letters, no appeals or evidence of compliance was ever received by HSE.

A company representative attended an interview under caution but did not provide any reasonable explanation for the non-compliance.

The Solid Surface Shop UK Ltd, based at Henry Street, Sheffield, at the time of the offences pleaded guilty to breaching a single charge under Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. 

After the hearing, HSE inspector Laura Hunter commented: “Improvement notices must be complied with. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.