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Garage owner gave HSE false identity

The owner of a vehicle garage in Seven Sisters, north London, has been given a suspended prison sentence for breaches found during a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation after an employee was attacked by a guard dog.

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A mechanic sustained injuries to his thigh when he was attacked by the dog in January 2014. When the HSE visited the garage, it uncovered various offences, including spray painting without appropriate control measures to prevent workers and members of the public from breathing in hazardous chemicals, an unsafe vehicle lift, and a lack of adequate welfare facilities. 

The HSE had previously taken enforcement action against the garage’s owner, Mehmet Salih, in relation to these offences. 

Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that Salih gave the HSE a false identity and claimed the owner of the business was out of the country. He also told the executive that certain tasks were not carried out at the garage. 

Salih pleaded guilty to breaching ss 2(1) and 4(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and reg 9(2) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, which requires every employer to ensure that lifting equipment is thoroughly examined and is safe to operate. 

He was given a six-month prison term for each charge, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 300 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay £2,000 in costs and £5,000 compensation to the victim of the dog attack.  

HSE inspector Nick Faber said: “The horrific injury suffered by Mehmet Salih’s employee was completely avoidable and even basic control measures such as putting a muzzle on the dog would have eliminated the risk. 

“The wide range of safety failings at the garage exposed a number of other people to serious risk, including health effects which may only become apparent later in their lives.”

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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