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£7,760 fine for Erith company's health and safety offences which include young employee using defective saw

PUBLISHED: 10:43 29 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:43 29 May 2017

Bexley Council offices

Bexley Council offices

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A health and safety officer from the council deemed the situation unsafe

A food company from Erith have been fined £7,760 after the council brought a case against them for health and safety offences.

At a hearing at Bexley Magistrates’ Court on Monday May 22, director of Zion Tropical Foods Limited, Godswill Kuranga, pleaded guilty to four charges on the company’s behalf.

The prosecution was taken after the council’s environmental health officer, Ruta Svagsdiene, visited the premises and established that a defective band saw was being used by a young employee to cut up frozen meat at the company’s premises on Pier Road.

A council spokesperson said it was pleased that Ms Svagzdiene’s prompt action had removed the risk that the young person concerned could suffer a serious injury.

The company pleaded guilty to four health and safety charges relating to its system of work, risk assessments, and the training and protection of young people. They were fined £2,000 in respect of one charge, and £1,000 each in respect of three others. The court imposed a victim surcharge of £170 and awarded the council costs of £2,500.

In mitigation, the company said that the defective band saw was repaired following the council’s visit. The business has also reduced its workforce and Mr Kuranga and his wife were now the only remaining employees.

The court said there could be no excuses for the circumstances uncovered by the council’s visit. While the practices had changed and the band saw had been repaired, this only happened as a result of the council’s inspection.

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