Drinks producer fined by HSE for health and safety failings

A drinks producer has been prosecuted and fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) along with another company after health and safety failings were identified at a factory in the Herefordshire market town of Ledbury.

The HSE stepped in to investigate following a serious incident involving a scaffold at the premises of United Beverages Ltd back in October 2009. Health and safety officers identified many breaches of safety in relation to the scaffold.

As well as having defects such as loose boards and gaps, the scaffold was not inspected frequently enough. When it was, an unqualified employee without the required health and safety training on scaffolding was sent to complete the inspection.

The HSE prosecuted Central Roofing and Building Services, which trades as Erect-A-Scaffold and was appointed by the drinks company to put up and look after the scaffold at the site, for the safety issues with the scaffold. However, the body also brought Universal Beverages Ltd before Worcester Crown Court to answer charges of failing to ensure its subcontractor met its obligations in relation to the scaffold, thereby putting its employees and non-employees at risk.

Both companies were fined for breaching health and safety regulations, with Universal Beverages having to pay £85,000 plus £50,000 costs while Central Roofing and Building Services being fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £18,000 in court costs.