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Council prosecution sees building materials company hit with £400k fine for health and safety offence

A prosecution brought by Thanet District Council has seen a building materials company fined £400,000 over an incident that left one employee with life-changing injuries and a second suffering from deep cuts and lacerations.

Thanet initially served Jewson Builders Merchants Yard in Margate with two prohibition notices and three improvement notices under health and safety at work regulations before deciding to prosecute the company for offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company entered an early guilty plea to the charge under Section 2 of the 1974 act, and a sentencing hearing took place on 28 April 2022 at the Folkestone Magistrates' Court.

Section 2 of the 1974 Act places a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.

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The victim who sustained the most significant injuries was in attendance, and a moving witness impact statement was read out to the Court, the council said.

The District Judge handed down a fine of £600,000, which was reduced to £400,000 due to the guilty plea. The judge also awarded full costs of £23,094 to the council.

Cllr Jill Bayford, Cabinet Member for Housing and portfolio holder for Environmental Health at Thanet District Council, said: "We feel that the fine handed down was fair and hope that this will bring some closure to all those who were affected by the accident."

Jewson is part of a larger company called Saint Gobain Building Distribution Limited.

Both Jewson and Saint Gobain have been approached for a statement.

Adam Carey

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