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March 24, 2011

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Employee tips off HSE about firm’s lack of liability insurance

The owner of a plastics recycling business in Shropshire has been fined for failing to have compulsory insurance in place to protect his employees.

Brian Woods, 55, who trades as Brian Woods Recycling, was prosecuted by the HSE for not possessing Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance, following a complaint from one of his employees in October last year.

The HSE’s investigation found that Woods, who employs three people, displayed an Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance certificate at the factory in Lilleshall, Newport, but he was not paying the insurance premiums. His insurance broker wrote to him on several occasions to extend the deadline for payment, and on 9 August 2010 it wrote a final letter stating that the policy was cancelled and requesting he returned the certificate.

Woods continued to operate without insurance from 17 August to 13 October, which was when one of his employees contacted the HSE to raise their concerns. HSE inspector Sara Cragg stressed that it’s vital that companies are in possession of a valid insurance certificate. She said: “Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their staff while they are at work, and must protect them with compulsory insurance.

“Employers’ liability insurance is designed to ensure employees are covered if they are injured or made ill by their work.”

Woods appeared at Telford Magistrates’ Court on 21 March and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, and was fined £2500 with costs of £1000.

After the hearing, inspector Cragg commented: “Failing to have this insurance leaves members of staff 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.”

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