Successful prosecution for Health and Safety non-compliance
Published on 4th March 2015
On Monday (2 March) Cheltenham Magistrates Court fined Mr Ilhan Bingol of Daphne’s restaurant a total of £640.
Mr Bingol pleaded guilty to non-compliance, by the date specified, to two Health and Safety Improvement Notices relating to gas safety at the restaurant.
Two notices were served to ensure compliance of the appliances to the recognised gas safety standards. Mr Bingol was originally requested to comply back in January 2009 when a food hygiene inspection highlighted that the gas safety systems were not checked regularly. There were then several follow up actions including letters, phone calls and emails to Mr Bingol who did not comply. Following a visit with the food officer on the 5 March 2014 an informal deadline for compliance was requested. This was not complied with and the legal notices were served.
During this time Mr Bingol never contacted the council to explain why he could not comply with the notice nor informed the council when compliance had occurred. Officers made contact with him twice during the notice period (of 48 days), reminding him of the need for compliance and visited four times following expiry of the notice, before discovering compliance some 6 weeks after the expiry of the notice.
Sadie Hawson, senior environmental health officer, said: "We urge business to address issues informally when they arise, if served with a notice, they need to pay attention to the situation highlighted and comply with the notice within the time scale specified. If genuine circumstances prevent compliance then the period of the notice can be extended and the council doesn’t have to take further legal action."
Cllr Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, added: “Council officers work to gain legal compliance with businesses informally and serve notices where a problem persists or there is an imminent risk to address. When a legal notice is served it must be complied with by the time specified, otherwise legal action has to be taken.
“Officers’ time is precious and they don't want to be undertaking numerous compliance visits but will do so when the public may be put at risk. In this case there was an obvious risk to employees and the public at the restaurant until the gas appliances were checked as unsafe gas appliances can produce carbon monoxide (CO) a highly poisonous gas that can cause death as well as serious long term health problems such as brain damage.”
Regular maintenance of gas equipment (in line with manufactures’ recommendations) is important to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and competent engineers can be found through the gas safe register website. Gas equipment and services must only be installed and repaired by a gas safe registered installer. You can check an engineer by checking the website or calling 0800 4085500 with their ID number, business name or postcode.
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Mr Bingol was fined £50 for each offence with costs of £570 (50% of what was applied for) and a victim surcharge of £20. The maximum fine is £20,000 per offence.