Midlands merchant prosecuted for flawed floor
Published: 04 February, 2010
BIRMINGHAM: HRA Builders' Merchants was fined £11 585 including costs for using an unsafe mezzanine floor.
Officers from Birmingham City Council deemed the floor a danger to staff and customers. During a routine inspection in November 2008, an officer from the council's health and safety regulatory team discovered that Zaman Ali, owner of HRA Builders' Merchants, had constructed a mezzanine structure from racking parts and wood.
The structure was extremely unstable, was not adequately fastened to the floor or walls of the warehouse, and deemed to be at risk of collapse. Ali further increased the risk by allowing forklift trucks to operate underneath the structure, placing employees and customers in immediate danger. Prohibition notices were served on the structure and it was later dismantled.
Councillor Neil Eustace, chair of the Public Protection Committee, Birmingham City Council Regulatory Services, said: "I hope this result sends out the clear message to other businesses that it is unacceptable to place employees and members of the public at risk."
He said that the structure was "little more than a game of Jenga waiting to topple. Had a forklift truck collided with the structure, it no doubt would have collapsed, resulting in potentially fatal consequences to employees or customers who regularly passed underneath it".
Mr Eustace continued: "Although it is unusual for such action to be taken following an inspection, this case reflects how far the business had strayed from its duties," he said.
Ali pleaded guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 29 January 2010 to breaching Section 2 and Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was ordered to pay costs of £1585.