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Furniture manufacturer fined after multiple safety breaches

14 November 2017

A Manchester based office furniture manufacturer has been fined after putting employees at risk with widespread safety failings.

Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had failed to comply with several Improvement Notices (IN’s), training to use machinery was inadequate and the risk of employees gaining access to the dangerous parts of machines had not been suitably and sufficiently assessed.

An inspection was carried out at Wicks Office Furniture Ltd in March 2016 following a concern being raised by the local authority. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was a failure to ensure machinery guards were provided and used properly with a risk of employees gaining access to the dangerous parts of machines.

During the investigation five Improvement Notices (IN’s) were served including two requiring the company to assess the risks associated with hazardous substances; namely welding fume and Corro-coat, a powder coating paint. A further two Prohibition Notices (PN’s) were also served at a later date relating to defeated interlocks on machine doors.

HSE had previously inspected the company in 2013 when Improvement Notices were served regarding workplace transport and machinery guarding.

Wicks Office Furniture Ltd of Highfield Road, Little Hulton, Manchester pleaded guilty to two breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company also pleaded guilty of breaching Regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulations 1998. Wicks was fined £99,000 and ordered to pay £11,623.65.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jennifer French said: “Wicks Office Furniture Ltd have fallen far short of what the law requires and put their staff at considerable risk from the use of unguarded machinery. Further, they failed to comply with improvement notices aimed at protecting people from risks to health which were not properly assessed or controlled at the company. Risks to employees from using unguarded machinery or exposure to fumes can result in serious and life changing injuries or ill health”


Further information on workplace safety is available at:-

http:/ /work-equipment-machinery/index.htm


Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
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