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Bedford dry cleaners fined for safety failings

A chain of dry cleaners in Bedford has been fined after putting workers' lives at risk from a poorly-maintained gas boiler.

Bedford Magistrates' Court heard inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited Kempston Cleaners in Tavistock Street on 1 July 2011 after an alert from an Environmental Health Officer at Bedford Borough Council. During their visit they discovered the gas-fired steam boiler was in a dangerous condition.

It was severely corroded, the flue was cracked and damaged, several burners were not working properly and there was a high risk that workers and members of the public were being exposed to toxic carbon monoxide emissions.

HSE served a Prohibition Notice immediately requiring the owner to demonstrate the boiler did not leak carbon monoxide into the spaces occupied by people. Its subsequent investigation found the company had failed to put a proper system in place to ensure the steam pressure system associated with the boiler was regularly serviced.

Kempston Cleaners Limited of 58 Tavistock Street, Bedford, admitted breaching Regulation 5 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations for which it was fined £4,000 and Regulation 8 of the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations for which it was fined £2,000. The company was ordered to pay £1,146.50 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.


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