Drinks maker and contractor fined for H&S failings

hselogo300A lesson in manufacturers’ responsibilities for their sub-contractors has been delivered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a drinks producer and a scaffolding firm it hired were fined for safety failings.

HSE identified concerns following a serious incident involving a scaffold at Universal Beverages’ premises at Ledbury in 2009.

Erect-A-Scaffold, was appointed by Universal Beverages to erect and maintain scaffolding at the site. Now, both companies have been sentenced at Worcester Crown Court, which heard that there were “significant” issues with the scaffolding, including loose boards and big gaps.

Central Roofing and Building Services, trading as Erect-A-Scaffold, did not inspect the scaffold frequently enough and, on more than one occasion, sent an inexperienced and unqualified employee to carry out the inspection. HSE found the company failed to perform adequate and regular safety inspections and maintenance of the scaffold.

Universal Beverages, meanwhile, failed to ensure the subcontractor it appointed fulfilled its obligation in this regard. In doing so the drinks company also failed to ensure the safety of non-employees.

Universal Beverages was fined £85,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs, after being found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Erect-A-Scaffold was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £18,000 costs after pleading guilty to the same breach.

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.


About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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