Hemel Hempstead supermarket fined £30,000 for breaching health and safety laws

Owners claim issues predated them taking over

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 11:15 am

Hemel Food Centre has been fined £30,000 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety laws.

Migagold Ltd trading as Hemel Food Centre, based in the Marlowes, pleaded guilty to breaching its duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Luton Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, October 6, following inspections by Dacorum Borough Council Environmental Health Officers.

In November 2018, officers served a prohibition notice on a meat cutting bandsaw that did not have an interlocking guard to protect staff from accessing moving parts of equipment which included rotating pulleys and the bandsaw blade.

Hemel Food Centre (C) Google Maps
Hemel Food Centre (C) Google Maps

Officers placed tape around the bandsaw to prevent use and served a prohibition notice.

The court heard how the business had deliberately removed the tape and there had been a ‘flagrant disregard’ of the prohibition notice.

The court fined the business a total of £30,000 for the two offences: providing unsafe equipment and breaching a prohibition notice.

The business was ordered to pay £4,000 court costs. The court took into account an early guilty plea and no previous convictions of the business which had been incorporated in 2017.

Cllr Julie Banks, portfolio holder for community and regulatory services, said: “Health and safety is essential in the workplace and we will take action where it is not being followed.

"This case sends out an important message, highlighting the need for businesses to comply with health and safety laws and to take all appropriate measures in their business.”

The council’s Environmental Health team is employed to investigate non-compliance in the workplace and ensure that businesses in Dacorum comply with health and safety law.

The Hemel Gazette contacted the Hemel Food Centre for a response to the council's findings. A spokesman said they were furious with the council's decision and insist the issues pre-date them taking over. They also insist they have made changes.

"We have made lots of changes, we have decorated and the mistake happened before we took over," a spokesman told The Gazette.