Glamping Cocoon and its director Nicholas Oaten were fined £30,000 and £2,640 respectively at Beverley Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.
The court was told that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an unannounced inspection of Glamping Cocoon’s premises in Beverley, East Yorkshire, during its woodworking sector blitz in March 2017.
The company was served four improvement notices requiring it to rectify: the risk of a person falling from a distance; wood dust exposure from a chop saw; wood dust exposure from a table saw; and noise exposure that exceeded the [80dB(A)] lower exposure action value.
According to the HSE’s enforcement database, the date for Glamping Cocoon to comply was extended in all four cases. Two notices remained outstanding “months” after the deadline, the HSE said, “despite [its] attempts to work with the company to support improvements”.
The notice, which relates to the risk assessment of employees who were exposed to noise, remains outstanding.
Glamping Cocoon pleaded guilty to breaching s 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, while Oaten was found guilty of breaching s 33(1)(g) by s 37(1) of the same act. Both parties were ordered to pay costs of £5,506 in addition to the fines.
HSE inspector Louise Redgrove said: “Failure to engage with [the] HSE exposes both employees and the business to risk. In this case health risks to employees from noise were not assessed or managed and the business will have to pay a substantial fine.
“The company and director should have taken on board all the assistance available to them from [the] HSE or obtained competent advice elsewhere. The HSE will assist small companies but where there is a disregard for the law, specifically the requirements of improvement notices, prosecution will be sought.”
However, a spokesman for Glamping Cocoon told the Hull Daily Mail that the company did complete a noise risk assessment within the timeframe to comply with the HSE’s improvement notice and will challenge the penalty.
“We complied but [the HSE] says it was late, which is just ridiculous. We are appealing the decision because we are adamant that we had done what we were told to do and complied with the HSE,” he said.