Mauretania Estates Limited were sentenced (10 January), for failing to comply with four Improvement Notices served under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 following a prosecution by Bristol City Council. The company was ordered to pay £8,000 with costs of £5,688,00 awarded to Bristol City Council.
The city council’s public health services team inspected the premises of Java, a cafe bar and nightclub premises in Park Street and found the general condition of the premises was poor with a number of hazards in areas used by members of the public and employees. As a result, a Prohibition Notice and four Improvement Notices were served with an accompanying letter outlining various other works which were required.
The Prohibition Notice related to exposed electrical conductors in the kitchen and underneath the DJ booth;
The Improvement Notices related to: more than twenty defects to the electrical installation, including exposed cables, missing covers to distribution boards, broken sockets and missing light covers; defects to extension leads, plugs and flexes; A requirement that they appoint one or more competent persons to assist in undertaking measures in order to comply with health and safety provisions; protecting their employees from exposure to noise.
Despite numerous visits by Health and Safety staff, the actions required to comply with the Notices and to improve the premises, were not completed. Bristol City Council staff were then forced to take legal action. After hearings in the magistrates court, the company finally pleaded guilty in the Crown Court in December 2010.
Principal Environmental Health Officer for Bristol City Council, Paul Tregale, said: Mauretania Estates Ltd did not take appropriate action after receiving the Improvement Notices, which meant staff and customers were left exposed to a number of hazards. Whilst we endeavour to work with businesses to ensure they provide good standards for health and safety, when they fall short of the required standards and fail to comply with enforcement Notices, we will take enforcement action. Cllr Bev Knott, Bristol City Councils cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said, “We are determined that businesses in Bristol are run in a way that is safe for customers and for staff. The level of the fine sends a clear message that action must be taken if notices are served.”