Company and general manager fined for failing HSE inspection after repeated warnings

A Cambridge company and its general manager have both been fined for failing to maintain health and safety standards at work after multiple improvement notices were issued.
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Cambridge Magistrates Court heard that Cambridge Timbertec Ltd failed to maintain suitable standards of work after several inspections by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The company had received six previous improvement notices plus written advice. It had initially complied with these notices but failed to maintain standards.

An HSE inspection on the 12 March 2015 resulted in three Prohibition Notices and four Improvement Notices. The inspection found that the company should have adopted standards identified in previous inspections and not allowed them to lapse. Cambridge Timbertec Ltd of Warren Road, Suffolk pleaded guilty to breaching:

  • Regulation 7 (1) of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Regulation 5(1) of The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005,
  • Regulation 11(1) of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
  • Regulation 11(1) (B) of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,000.

In addition, the general manager Mr Craig Butler of 46 Warren Road, Suffolk pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 with regard to the four above charges. He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £700 costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “This case highlights the importance of continuing to comply with health and safety law. The HSE will consider prosecuting both a company and individuals even if there are no reported cases of injury or ill-health. Dutyholders have the responsibility to ensure they have suitable competent advice to be able to fully understand the risks employees face, and implement adequate control measures so they can work safely. They also need to ensure they are able to identify early signs of deteriorating health which may be an indication of inadequate control measures.”

Phoenix comments: Despite several warnings and enforcement notices served from 2015, Cambridge Timbertec Ltd have blatantly disregarded the safety of their employees and anyone else affected by their activities. The individual prosecution of the general manager highlights the importance of health and safety leadership. Effective health and safety performance and risk perception start with senior leaders. They provide the resources, create the culture and introduce systems to manage risk responsibly and continuously monitor health and safety performance. The HSE website provides further details on Leading Health and Safety at Work. Phoenix HSC also offers the IOSH Leading Safely qualification for business leaders and those with management responsibilities.