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Furniture company fined over its slippery floors

stack of chairs

A furniture company boss that failed to comply with an improvement notice to put right his slippery floors, found himself with an £8000 fine and having to pay a further £10,000 in costs.

HSE inspectors had carried out a routine health and safety inspection of the company and found a number of problems, including an unguarded edge on a mezzanine floor; maintenance issues with a fork lift truck and slippery floors.

The concrete walkway floors were coated in wood dust and lacquer, produced during the furniture assembly and finishing process that could spread across the entire floor. Scientific testing confirmed that the dust was making it dangerously slippery and was likely to cause an accident. There was an increased risk of slipping as employees had to frequently work in this area and were involved in carrying heavy and awkward items of furniture.

Given the seriousness of the issues identified, the inspector issued several improvement notices. On the return visit, the inspectors were disappointed to find that the company had not done enough to meet the requirements of the slippery floor notice. Only parts of the concrete floor had been treated with non-slip paint and application was poor with bare areas visible.

inside the building

Ely magistrates heard that the director of the company had failed to comply with the slippery floor improvement notice and had also neglected his duty to look after his employees. They fined the company £6,000 and the firm's sole director a personal fine of £6,000, but the total was reduced to £8,000 after he pleaded guilty. He was also told to pay £9,730 costs.

The company owner had been self-employed for 44 years, but had no health and safety records or risk assessment guidelines in place.

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