A Sheffield-based kitchen worktop manufacturer has been sentenced for non-compliance of Improvement Notices and failure to effectively manage health and safety.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that a poor standard of health and safety management was identified during an inspection around premises of The Solid Surface Shop UK Ltd on Henry Street in Sheffield in March 2016. This included significant accumulations of dust. Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) units were not subject 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 LEV, 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.

Employers that install LEV as a control measure to remove dusts, fumes, vapours, etc produced by work processes or activities must ensure it is maintained in efficient working order so it continues to provide the necessary protection. LEV is also subject to a mandatory periodic thorough examination and test (at least every 14 months) and a record of this test must be kept for at least 5 years. In addition, employers should have information on the installed LEV system to confirm it provides adequate protection, which should be kept for the life of the equipment.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Improvement Notices were hand delivered to site and discussed with two of the directors. 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 the HSE. A company representative attended an interview under caution but did not provide any reasonable explanations for the non-compliance.

The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £6181.51 in costs.

Last reviewed 1 August 2019