Rotherham firm slapped with £72k bill for health and safety breaches which put staff in danger

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A Rotherham metal recycling firm has been fined £36,000 and ordered to pay the same in court costs after putting its workforce in ‘serious danger’ by failing to maintain equipment.

Luke Hobson, boss of Meadowbank Vac Alloys, based On Harrison Street, Ferham, Rotherham, was given 12 weeks to pay the £72,000 bill by Judge Robert Moore at Sheffield Crown Court.

The court heard the firm was issued with prohibition notices by Health and Safety Executive in 2012 in relation to three machines which were in a dangerous condition and putting the lives of its 14 employees at risk.

But the court heard the company failed to take action to improve the state of the machinery because of a rogue health and safety officer who was later prosecuted for fraud.

A spokeswoman for the health and safety executive said the firm had notched up 31 enforcement notices over a three month period which related to 57 safety breaches.

Several of the breaches involved heavy plant or vehicles that were dangerous, including a loading shovel that had no brakes.

She said: “Despite the prohibition notices served banning the use of these dangerous vehicles, the company allowed them to be operated regardless.”

Alex Dos Santos, defending the firm, said at the time it employed a solicitor who was responsible for health and safety matters who later ‘undermined’ the company and stood trial for fraud and money laundering.

He said the machinery had since been made safe and no injuries were caused.