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Bridport firm fined for accident "which should never have happened" involving forklift and make-shift mobile elevated work platform.


A luxury bedroom furniture company from Bridport has been fined £113,000 after health and safety breaches saw one of their employees being injured.

Representatives of And So To Bed Ltd appeared in Poole Magistrates' Court on Tuesday after being prosecuted by West Dorset District Council for breaches of Sections 2(1) and 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and of Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The company entered guilty pleas to both charges.   

The court heard how, on 1st February 2017, a member of staff working in the company's warehouse at Pymore, Bridport, fell around seven feet from a make-shift mobile elevated working platform.

The platform was attached to a forklift truck and was open sided. 

The employee involved sustained injuries to his knee and face but the incident could have resulted in death or life changing injuries.

An investigation at the time of the incident by Environment Health officers working for West Dorset District Council found that the company had poor health and safety practices associated with this work activity including insufficient risk assessment.

There was inadequate personal protective equipment provided for employees and no safe system to address the risk of employees falling from the platform. 

A health & safety audit report from as far back as 2006 commented that use of the make-shift platform was "unacceptable". However the investigation found that despite a safer system being purchased by the company, the dangerous platform had continued to be used on an almost daily basis.

And So To Bed Ltd of Pymore Mills, Pymore, Bridport, Dorset was fined £113,000 ordered to pay costs of £6,924 and a victim surcharge of £170.

In mitigation the judge found that after the accident the company had addressed its health and safety failings and implemented a new health and safety regime.

The Judge thanked the council for a well presented case.   

Cllr Anthony Alford, Leader of West Dorset District Council (pictured below), said: 

"I would like to thank our officers for investigating this matter. The health and safety practices of And So To Bed Ltd were simply not good enough. This accident should never have happened and could have been avoided".

"Employers should be aware that they have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees. The district council will consider the option of taking enforcement action when investigating health and safety incidents.

"Good health and safety practice makes good business sense. If you want more information and advice please visit: hse.gov.uk