Lye shopkeepers fined for food hygiene offences

The owners of a discount store in the West Midlands town of Lye have been fined thousands of pounds by the local council after admitting a number of food hygiene offences.

Whilst on a routine inspection of the Lye Discount Store on High Street, Dudley Council’s environmental health team uncovered total of ten breaches of food hygiene and safety regulations.

The case was brought to Halesowen Magistrates Court, where shopkeepers Mohammed Nazabuth and Parveen Akhtar were accused of failures to:

– Protect food from the risk of contamination (raw meat was reportedly left hanging above salad in a chiller cabinet)
– Store refuse hygienically
– Implement a food safety management system
– Keep food premises and equipment clean and well-maintained

Mr Nazabuth, who was reportedly left in charge of the business whilst his sister Ms Akhtar was temporarily absent, admitted to not being aware of his responsibilities in relation to food safety. The pair were fined a total of £6,500 for breaching food hygiene regulations.

The offences uncovered at the Lye shop would normally be covered as part of a food hygiene course, which all people left in charge of a food-related business are recommended to undergo.

Dundee care home ordered by Care Commission to improve standards

Following an inspection by the Care Commission, a neurodisability facility in Dundee has been ordered to make improvements to its standards of care.

The Linlathen Neurodisability Centre in Broughty Ferry has been under scrutiny by the Care Commission for some time now, after issues relating to staffing, care training and quality of care at the home were brought to light.

A spokesperson for the Commission commented on the home, which provides care for forty-five residents. He said:

“At our most recent inspection of the service we identified a range of issues and concerns and as a result the service was awarded grades of ‘unsatisfactory’ and ‘weak’. This is unacceptable in terms of the quality of care being provided to people.

“In recent months there have been a number of staffing and care issues at the service and these continue to cause us concern. The main issues include staffing levels and skills and also understanding the support needs of people living in the home.”

The Linlathen facility’s owners now have a total of six weeks to make the required improvements to standards at the home, or it may be forced to close. A spokesperson for Four Seasons Health Care, which owns the home, has said that it is making’noticeable improvements’ in response to the Commission’s report.

Four out of five South East businesses admit first aid failings

New research conducted by St John Ambulance has revealed that most businesses in South East do not have the required number of properly trained first aiders.

The first aid organisation found that four of five businesses admitted that there are times in the course of day-to-day operations that a trained first aider is not on duty. If someone had fallen ill, had an accident or an emergency happened during these times, the consequences could be devastating.

In response to this worrying fact, St John Ambulance has launched an online survey in which businesses are asked to answer a few questions. The aim of the survey is to help business owners understand whether they are meeting the first aid standards required by law or whether they need to send more staff on first aid training courses.

The charity’s South East director Sabarah Cursons said:

“On any given day, first aiders might be absent because of illness, holiday or training.”

“Or there may not be sufficient first aid cover because many companies are not meeting the legal minimum in the first place.”

“That means if someone has an injury and is bleeding or even has a heart attack, there may be no-one to provide the vital first aid that could be the difference between life and death.”

Dale woman helps accident victim a day after taking first aid training course

A woman from Teesdale has been praised by the community after she rushed to the aid of a 78-year-old man who had fallen from his moped.

The accident occurred on the B6277 road last Thursday (24th February), when well-known artist, author and local historian Stan Walinets fell from his vehicle. One of the first on the scene of the crash was Sue Brown, who coincidentally services on the same village committee as Mr Walinets.

Mrs Brown was able to offer her assistance to the fallen man using her first aid training skills, which she had learned at a course only the previous day. She explained what happened, saying:

“I was in the car with my mother and I was talking about the first aid course, and how I should get a first aid kit for the car”

“I then realised something had happened in the road. It has really brought it home to me how important it is to have first aid training and the difference it could make to someone.”

Mr Walinets is now recovering in hospital, after suffering cuts and broken ankles. Thanks to the assistance of Mrs Brown and other members of the community, his injuries weren’t more serious.

Reading food businesses falling short of food hygiene standards

Following a recent inspection, more than half of the food-serving businesses in Reading have been found to be falling short of food hygiene standards.

Reading Councilâ’s food safety team visited a total of twenty-one premises over the last twelve months, checking for things like cleanliness of premises, safe food storage and preparation and food hygiene training for staff.

What they found was quite shocking; of the 66 test samples that were taken from the knives, chopping boards and other kitchen equipment of Reading eateries, a total of 36 were considered to be below par.

The team warned businesses that even though surfaces may look clean, they could still be harbouring dangerous bacteria such as E.coli that could cause food poisoning.

The eateries which received unsatisfactory results in the inspection have now been notified and advised to make improvements. An excellent starting point for those affected could be to sharpen up food safety training for all staff within the business, moving on to implementing water-tight food hygiene management policies.

If businesses do not show signs of improvement within a reasonable time, they could potentially be shut down by the authorities for endangering public health.

Printing firm in court over fatal employee accident

The owners of a printing firm based in the Fengate area of Cambridgeshire in Peterborough has appeared in court over health and safety breaches which may have led to the death of an employee.

The case centres on worker Ian Ebbs, who lost his life back in October 2008 when a printing press he was attempting to repair crushed him. During the night shift, a paddle wheel from the machine swung down and fell on Mr Ebbs, who was 43 at the time.

Wyndeham Peterborough, which owns the St Ives Web printing firm, is now accused of failing to ensure the health and safety of Ian Ebb and all other employees at the Fengate facility. It is alleged that the company breached its duty to its employees by failing to carry out a proper risk assessment on maintenance operations such as the work Ian Ebb was undertaking.

It was agreed that the case is too serious to be heard at Peterborough Magistrates Court, so a Crown Court date will now be set. If it is found that Wyndeham Peterborough neglected any essential part of health and safety training for its employees or risk assessors, the company could face substantial fines.

Roofing firm fined over unsafe working practices

A roofing firm based in Derby has been fined by Derby Magistrates Court after two of its roofers were seen working on a roof in Swadlincote without using any safety equipment.

Aquacoat Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after its inspectors, who happened to be passing the Oldfield Drive site in June last year, saw that the contractor’s roofing team were not using any safety equipment to prevent anyone from falling and injuring themselves.

Working at height is a basic element of health and safety training, and one that all roofing contractors should be aware of.

After being found guilty of breaching two sections of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Aquacoat Ltd was fined a total of £10,000 and was ordered to pay £4,177 in court costs.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Martin Giles said:

“Fortunately no-one was injured on this occasion, but this was a blatant disregard for health and safety which put both workers and members of the public in danger.

“Roofing work requires careful planning and assessment of the risks involved. In this case employees were working without the correct equipment to protect them from falls or to protect passers-by from falling material.”

Cornish nursing home failing in its duty of care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has identified the St Theresa’s Care Centre in Callington, Cornwall, as failing in its duty of care, as elderly residents were found to be going without adequate food and drink.

This was the verdict following a surprise visit to the Cornish nursing home last August, when inspectors found that some residents did not appear to have sufficient nutrition and hydration. In addition, only three out of the 19 people monitored had been given a bath in the past month.

There appeared to be a staffing problem at the home, as some residents and carers complained to inspectors that there were not enough staff on duty. The CQC report also expressed concern over levels of care training at the home:

“The health and welfare needs of people using the service are not appropriately met.

“Staff are not available in sufficient numbers and do not have sufficient training to ensure that needs are met.”

Upon hearing of the damning CQC report, the owners of St Theresa’s Care Home expressed shock and said that a “robust action plan” had been put in place to make the necessary improvements.

81 per cent of parents don’t know first aid skills

According to new research, as many as 81 per cent of parents don’t have even the most basic of first aid skills. This means that if their baby or child were to need emergency medical help, this 81 per cent of parents would not know what to do.

The research, undertaken by Tesco Baby & Toddler Club, found that most parents had not had any first aid training prior to having children. This is despite the fact that one in four of those surveyed will have to deal with an emergency situation at some point.

72 per cent of parents polled said they wouldn’t feel confident about administering first aid to their baby or child, as they would either panic too much or worry they were causing more harm or doing something wrong.

Joe Mulligan, who is the head of first aid education at the British Red Cross, said:

“Everyone knows that first aid is important, but many parents don’t want to think that their child will be involved in an emergency situation.

“However, it’s inevitable that a parent or carer would be the first person there if an accident occurs so it’s paramount that they have the knowledge and confidence required to administer first aid.”

Cardiff council bar fails food hygiene inspection

A private members’ bar in the headquarters of Cardiff Council has failed food hygiene inspections, leaving the council open to accusations that it is “sending out the worst possible message” to local businesses.

The bar, which is located in the basement of County Hall, was subject to a series of inspections by environmental health officers. Problems such as a dirty ice machine, food being stored at the wrong temperature and a lack of a hand washing sink were identified.

The private members’ bar received numerous warnings to improve hygiene standards and improve food safety training for staff but in the most recent inspection, in November 2010, that management had not done enough to implement a food safety management system.

The venue, which the council claims is run by an independent body, subsequently received a rating of just one out of five, which means that major improvements need to be made.

Maria Battle from Consumer Focus Wales commented on the inspection results, saying:

“Hopefully this naming and shaming in the Echo will force the management to take a more proactive approach and ensure that lessons are learned for the future, so that the body in charge of enforcing standards for other food businesses in Cardiff is setting a good example.”