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July 15, 2010

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Car wash failed to cooperate with HSE investigation

An Essex car wash company has been convicted in its absence for failing to purchase compulsory insurance to protect its employees.

On 18 November 2009, a HSE health and safety awareness officer made a surprise visit to Prowash Systems Ltd, which operates a car wash in Eastwood Road, Rayleigh, Essex. The visit was part of a joint campaign between the HSE and local authorities to check that businesses had purchased Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI).

Prowash Systems was unable to present an ELCI certificate and was given until 17 December 2009 to show it to the HSE. The company failed to meet this deadline and was issued with an ELCI “notice to produce”, with which it failed to comply. When representatives from the company were then called to an interview with HSE inspectors, they declined to attend.

The non-cooperative approach taken by the firm continued, with its failure to attend a prosecution hearing at Southend Magistrates’ Court on 14 July. The court, which heard the case in the company’s absence, found the company guilty of five breaches of s1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, for failing to hold ELCI, and s4(2)(b) of the same Act, for failing to produce a valid ELCI certificate upon request. It was fined £6750 and ordered to pay £1000 towards costs.

HSE inspector Peter Hook told SHP that, as a result of the firm’s failure to appear in court, the HSE will be required to take further action to prove that it now has a ELCI certificate. He said: “Injuries can stop employees from working for a significant period of time – or even for life, and workers must be protected with compulsory insurance.

“ELCI means those employees will not be left to fend for themselves and their families. It is designed to protect employees and ensure they are covered if they are injured or made ill by their work.

“Failing to have this insurance potentially leaves members of staff doubly vulnerable in the event of an accident or ill health. This case is a warning to all employers about how seriously HSE takes this issue.”

The firm had no previous safety-related convictions.

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Kevin
Kevin
13 years ago

The story does not relate whether the company has now complied or indeed whether they have paid the fine? What next, close them down, they will just move to new premises in another HSE area and set up again.

Serialcomplainer
Serialcomplainer
13 years ago

So Steve reckons that the most dangerous thing at the car wash is the sponge…

http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/local/central/worker-killed-in-car-wash-accident

Shpeditor
Shpeditor
13 years ago

Kevin – The company is still to comply or acknowledge the decision of the court.

Shpeditor
Shpeditor
13 years ago

An absolute disgrace that this firm is allowed to continue to ignore enforcement notices and failed to appear in court. Yet more tax payers money will be wasted chasing this up. Wonder if they will acknowledge the court’s penalties?

Shpeditor
Shpeditor
13 years ago

Finally someone that talks sense, well done Mr Paul. The HSE should focus their resources on serious incidents. Not wasting time and funds on chasing some company that doesn’t have insurance. The HSE is quickly becoming like the police force targeting smaller cases much like the police do with motoring offenses.

Stevepg56
Stevepg56
13 years ago

easy target, wonder what their accident rate is handling soft sponges and warm water? a really high risk industry i think not .

Stevepg56
Stevepg56
13 years ago

well someone has too much time on their hands a fatality in usa? i bet they have them in china and india too on a far greater frequency. citing one example does not make it scarey.