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Manufacturing firm admits health and safety breaches at factory

PUBLISHED: 21:01 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:01 31 January 2020

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

A manufacturing company is facing a fine when it is sentenced next week after it admitted breaching a health and safety at work regulation at its Suffolk factory.

Health and safety inspectors who made an unannounced visit to Lignacite, which manufactures concrete blocks, in April 2018 discovered safety perimeter fencing in a production area was in a poor state of repair and gates to the area - which should have been locked - had been left open.

Lignacite Ltd of Norfolk House, Brandon, has admitted failing to comply with a use of work equipment regulation on or before April 10, 2018 by failing to ensure work equipment in the cubing area in the block plant had been maintained in good working order and repair.

The company will be sentenced next Thursday.

Bethan Rogers, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said large sections of perimeter fencing in the production area were missing or damaged and gated entry points weren't locked.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that in 2018 the company, which had a £29million turnover, had employed 89 people at its sites in Brandon and Nazeing, Waltham Abbey.

Jamas Hodivala, for Lignacite, said the breach before the court hadn't resulted in any harm to anyone and it wasn't a case where a company had ignored its health and safety responsibilities.

He said previous accidents at the site hadn't been caused by damage to the perimeter fence and the gate to the cubing area being left open.

Six shift workers at the site were exposed to risk as a result of the breach, he added.

Mr Hodivala said shortly before the unannounced visit by Health and Safety inspectors the chairman of the company had noticed that safety measures in the production area weren't being properly enforced and had given the production manager a warning which hadn't been heeded.

The company had no previous health and safety convictions and since 2018 had spent £193,000 on improving machinery, computers, fencing and installing a new key system which prevented anyone being in the cubing area while the machinery was running, he added.

Adequate safety procedures had been in place although they may not have been implemented on the ground, Mr Hodivala said.

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