Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries Ltd was fined more than £100,000 after a member of staff was hurt when cleaning up hazardous chemicals.
Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries Ltd near Tiptree, Essex, admitted to three safety offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act, when a member of staff developed breathing difficulties after clearing up spilt garden chemical in April 2017.
Colchester Borough Council prosecuted the garden centre for failing to put in place measures to adequately protect staff from hazardous chemicals. The incident was investigated, after the worker complained to environmental health officers in September 2017.
The garden centre had failed to implement the safety management system described in its own policy manual and failed to implement the recommendations of the most recent health and safety consultant audit. Their health and safety policy and arrangements had not been reviewed nor updated to reflect the changes in the directorship of the company.
In sentencing, magistrates took into account the company’s turnover, no previous convictions, and their efforts to correct the shortfalls in the health and safety aspects of the business. The fines were also reduced by one third for a guilty plea at the first available opportunity.
Alan Bourne, managing director of Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries Ltd, said: "We take the health and safety of our team and customers extremely seriously and have a number of policies and procedures in order to safeguard everyone at the garden centre. Unfortunately, an incident did occur in 2017 concerning a current member of staff. Since then we have put additional policies and training in place to ensure that an incident like this does not occur again.”
Councillor Tina Bourne, said: “The public can be reassured that any breaches of health and safety regulations reported to us will be investigated and where any incident meets the required legal threshold, those found to be in breach of the law will face prosecution in court. I hope this case serves as a reminder that we take a dim view of any business that fails to put safety first and whose actions or inaction leads to personal injury.”
At Southalls we work with many garden centres. It’s important that garden centres have quick access to the Material Safety Data Sheets for all hazardous chemicals sold. These data sheets contain first aid and spillage procedure information. Garden centres also need to have adequate spillage clean up equipment for the products on sale with staff made aware of the procedure to follow in event of spillage. Bulk storage of hazardous chemicals may require a more thorough COSHH assessment.