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Worktops firm fined after machinery shortcomings

13 February 2024

A STOCKPORT-based stone worktop manufacturer has been fined £26k for repeatedly putting its workers at risk.

Granite & Marble Shop Ltd failed to implement safe working practices despite warnings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The  company consistently put their employees at risk from serious injury by failing to adequately guard dangerous machinery at their site in Roland Road, Reddish.

A HSE inspector visited the site in 2019 and enforcement action was taken to have the appropriate guards installed, and to introduce daily checks, to ensure  these were in place and functioning correctly.

HSE guidance is available about the importance for employers to consider how their workers use machinery and to have adequate arrangements in place to ensure it remains safe to use.

However, when an inspector returned to the site on 18 August 2021, the guarding measures that had been put in place were broken or disabled – once again placing employees in danger.

A HSE investigation found that The Granite & Marble Shop Ltd of Cheadle Place Stockport Road, Cheadle, Cheshire, had failed to properly manage, supervise, and monitor the control measures that had been put in place, in order to ensure that guards were being used as intended.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were fined £26,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,708 at a hearing in Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 31 January 2024. The prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Sam Crockett.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Stephanie Simcock said, “This case highlights how critical it is that all employers make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.

“Machinery safety and supervision and monitoring is a must. We will prosecute if repeated breaches are found, regardless of whether there has been an incident.

“Despite an earlier intervention and advice being given, this company continued to fail in its duty to protect its employees.”