Firm fined after health and safety breach

PUBLISHED: 13:26 28 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 24 May 2010

A MAJOR frozen food company in Portishead which flouted health and safety rules has been ordered to pay more than £9,000. Cauldron Foods of Portishead Business Park in Old Mill Lane was handed fines totalling £7,500 and ordered to pay £1,692 costs after o

A MAJOR frozen food company in Portishead which flouted health and safety rules has been ordered to pay more than £9,000.Cauldron Foods of Portishead Business Park in Old Mill Lane was handed fines totalling £7,500 and ordered to pay £1,692 costs after one of its workers slipped on a ledge covered with ice and fractured his ankle.The company, which employs 220 people in the town, admitted two breaches of the Workplace Regulations (1992) made under the Health and Safety Act 1974.The company, which sells frozen vegetarian and organic food, was hauled before North Somerset Magistrates Court after employee Darren Bishop slipped on an ice-covered ledge twice in three days.Liam Osborne, prosecuting, said a damaged door seal on two freezers led to water vapour freezing on the inside and outside of the unit on a ledge about 1.5ft above the ground.Mr Bishop was pulling pallets to the front of the freezer on January 17 when he slipped and fell from the frozen ledge, twisting his ankle. But a second accident two days later, led to him fracturing his ankle said Mr Osborne.He said: "After the second incident, Mr Bishop said he was screaming in agony. He was taken to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol and given morphine for the pain. He still takes painkillers two or three time a day."The slips were foreseeable and the company failed to heed warnings from the workplace or manage the risk. This was not a careless breach but wreckless."Stephen McGregor, defending, said Cauldron Foods had been taken over by Premier Foods in November and there had been a complete change of management.The new company had so far spent £300,000 on the factory and replaced the faulty freezers, he said."The failures leading to this prosecution can be laid at the door of the previous company. Premier Foods has a professional and proactive attitude to health and safety."In imposing the fine and full costs, the magistrates said they had taken into account the company's 'frank acceptance of guilt' and improvements to its health and safety procedures.

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