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Battersea laundry firm fined for ignoring safety notices

A Battersea laundry firm showed scant regard for employee wellbeing and safety after ignoring instructions to make it easier and safer for workers to move heavy loads, London magistrates heard today.

Niva UK (Ltd), trading as Sunbeam Laundry, failed to act on two separate Improvement Notices served by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following a routine inspection of its premises at the London Stone Business Estate, on Broughton Street, on the 6 May 2010.

The first Improvement Notice required the removal of bags of laundry and other items from walkways, including a stairway, and the entrance to a female staff toilet. The second required an urgent review and improvements to reduce the lifting and handling of laundry.

City of London Magistrates' Court heard that when HSE made a return inspection two months later, Niva had done nothing to comply with either notice.  Employees were still carrying heavy loads through blocked walkways and were routinely risking tripping and falling as a result.

The company pleaded guilty to two separate breaches of Section 33 (1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to take action and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £5,062 in costs.

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