Elland takeaway fined £17,000 for food hygiene breaches

A Chinese takeaway in Southgate, Elland, has been fined more than £17,000 after it was found to be breaching food safety rules and putting its customers’ health at risk.

The Welcome Chinese Takeaway was inspected by environmental health officers from Calderdale Council back in April 2013. A number of serious issues were uncovered, including:

• A lack of up-to-date records of food safety checks
• Equipment and fittings in a state of disrepair
• Dirty and unhygienic kitchen surfaces and equipment

The owner of the business, Mrs Tu Yung Chan, had reportedly been warned many times th she must make improvements or face further action. The environmental health team advised her on a number of occasions how to make these improvements, including enrolling herself and her staff on a food hygiene training course, but this advice appears to have been ignored.

At Halifax Magistrates’ Court, Mrs Chan was fined £16,000 after pleading guilty to a total of eight food hygiene offences. She was also ordered to pay court costs of £1,315.

The council’s Mark Thompson commented on the case, saying:

“We take breaches of hygiene standards very seriously and will not hesitate to take action if we find any areas of concern.

“In this case, we took legal action against a persistent offender who had put people’s health at risk. We will continue to monitor the takeaway.”

How the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order applies to your business

A number of years ago, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect, and it is this set of regulations that governs how businesses today manage fire safety risks and protect their staff from harm.

If you are a business owner, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order applies to you. It states that you, or another person within your company who you designate as being responsible for fire safety (known as “the responsible person”), has a duty to:

Carry out a fire risk assessment. This involves identifying potential hazards and people who are at risk, coming up with a plan to reduce or remove hazards and implementing it, as well as reviewing fire safety measures on a regular basis.

Implement appropriate fire safety measures

Provide your employees with suitable fire safety training. Your whole workforce needs at least basic fire safety training so that they can protect themselves and others, but you should also send a number of competent employees on fire marshal training. Your new fire marshals can then help you implement fire safety procedures – i.e. lead the evacuation of the premises in the case of fire.

Health and safety fine for UK coal over fatal mine collapse

The energy firm UK Coal has been fined £200,000 by Leeds Crown Court after it was found to have breached health and safety regulations. The breaches related to a collapse at a Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, in which a worker tragically lost his life.

Father-of-two Gerry Gibson, 49, died of asphyxiation in September 2011 after a section of roof collapsed on him whilst he was working 800m underground. Following the incident, which occurred after another collapse just days before, an investigation was launched into what happened.

Both of the collapses at Kellingley Colliery were found to have been caused by the misuse of a powered roof support. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also revealed that managers were aware of the earlier collapse but took no action to investigate what caused it.

UK Coal, which owned the mine, was found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations and was subsequently fined £200,000.

Commenting on the outcome of the case and stressing the importance of proper safety measures such as health and safety training and risk assessments, the HSE’s mines inspector John Whyatt said:

“This was a tragic and preventable incident that demonstrates the importance of employers having effective and robust safety management systems. Strong safety leadership is of paramount importance in incident prevention.”

UK businesses fined £5.5m for health and safety breaches

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has fined UK businesses a collective total of £5.5 million for breaches of health and safety rules.

The staggering total of fines is from the HSE’s ‘Fees for Intervention’ scheme which it launched a year ago, and which makes companies which break health and safety rules liable to pay the organisations costs. These costs include enforcement action, as well as inspections and investigations.

The types of incidents the HSE charged UK businesses more than £5 million in costs for in the last year included everything from inadequate health and safety training and a lack of suitable washing facilities to slips, trips and more serious injuries.

In terms of which sectors received the most fines, the manufacturing industry was top with 38 per cent of the £5.5 million total. Second was the construction industry with 36 per cent, with waste management and agriculture chalking up three and two per cent of the fines respectively.

Wayne Dunning, from the health and safety expert ELAS which revealed the figures, said:

“The truth is that a lot of these fines would be easily avoidable if firms took a few simple steps to boost their in-house health and safety policies. To ensure that your company is complying with correct requirements, it is good practice to have a comprehensive plan in place for dealing with HSE inspections and that staff members know the parts they have to play.”

Reports reveal poor food hygiene standards at UK hospitals

A new report has revealed that a large number of UK hospitals are breaking food hygiene regulations, potentially putting the health of patients at risk.

The MailOnline website has analysed reports, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, from environmental health officers on a total of 769 hospitals. The publication’s researchers found that as many as 581 hospitals across the country were actually breaking food hygiene regulations.

The figures showed that:

• 62 hospitals were stocking food that was out-of-date
• 229 hospitals had dirty kitchens or equipment

Other problems included pest infestations and poor food hygiene training amongst staff members working in hospital kitchens.

One hospital, Mile End Hospital, which was criticised for food hygiene standards following an environmental health inspection, has responded to the MailOnline report. A spokesperson for the Trust which runs the hospital said:

“Urgent steps were immediately taken to eradicate a small problem in the dry food storage area where there was evidence of mouse droppings on a shelf.

“There has been no sign of further pest activity since. In May this year, Barts Health was once again awarded a five star rating for the high levels of hygiene and cleanliness at Mile End Hospital.”

Consumers told to abandon businesses which fail food safety checks

borough council in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, has told residents in the area to steer clear of food businesses with low food hygiene standards and choose higher rating firms instead.

Carrickfergus Borough Council runs a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which awards businesses with ratings from zero to five following food safety inspections. The ratings are displayed online, and businesses can also display a green and black food hygiene rating scheme sticker with their rating within their own premises.

Whilst an impressive 87 per cent of food businesses in the area have been awarded a three-star rating or more this year, the rest are falling below the standards required by food hygiene regulations. Consumers are being advised to check the rating of a business before using it, and to avoid those that have been awarded a zero, one or two star rating.

The council, and other local authorities in Northern Ireland, believe that this will encourage businesses to make improvements to standards, such as improving food hygiene training for staff and implementing better cleaning systems in their premises, in a bid to win or keep customers.

Food hygiene fine for Ballymoney farmer

A farmer from the Northern Irish town of Ballymoney, in County Antrim, has been issued a fine of over £1,000 for breaching food hygiene regulations.

Thomas Taylor was prosecuted at Coleraine Court for breaching Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006. Inspectors carrying out a routine check at his farm found a number of structural issues with some parts of his premises, including the bulk tank storage area and milking parlour. The farmer was fined £1,500 for the breaches.

Commenting on the outcome of the case, the FSA in Northern Ireland’s head of food safety, Michael Jackson, said:

“The FSA gives high priority to the safe and hygienic production of food and operates a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements. Despite repeated requests and warnings, Mr Taylor failed to take action and maintain appropriate standards at the milking parlour.”

Mr Jackson also said that the FSA sees failures to comply with food hygiene regulations, including lapses in food hygiene training standards, as a very serious matter indeed. He added that offending businesses which repeatedly fail to comply with improvement notices may even be prosecuted.

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CQC issues warning over ‘at risk’ patients at Crumpsall care home

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued a care home in Crumpsall, in Greater Manchester, with a formal warning to improve its standards or it could face further action.

A CQC inspection report included that the residents of the Homeleigh facility are potentially being put “at risk” by lapses in the standards of care provided to them. Of particular concern to inspectors was the management of medicine, as multiple errors were uncovered in the way staff recorded the medicine administered to residents in the space of a month.

In the report, CQC inspectors explain their findings:

“We found there was an inconsistent approach by staff as to whether to give medicines late or not at all and when to record medicines as being ‘refused’.

“This meant people were at risk because medicines were not being administered consistently and in line with GP advice.”

A formal improvement notice has been issued to the Southfield Care Homes group which runs Homeleigh. This requires improvements to be made to the systems for dispensing and recording medicine, as well as care training for staff on medicine management. If the home fails to improve, it could be prosecuted and possibly even closed.

Hidden cameras could be used to check care home standards

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the care home watchdog for England and Wales, is reportedly considering using hidden cameras and other unconventional surveillance methods to monitor care homes.

A consultation will take place next year on proposals which include the use of hidden cameras and mystery shoppers to check up on standards at care homes.

The CQC’s chief inspector for adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe believes that these covert surveillance methods can help to uncover poor standards of care, including issues with neglect, insufficient care training and even abuse. However, she also said that the CQC is going to very carefully weigh up the risks and benefits of the proposals, making sure to consider whether they will breach the privacy and dignity of residents or not.

However, the director of carehome.co.uk, Davina Ludlow, has concerns. She said:

“We urge full and meaningful consultation before ‘digital spies’ infiltrate the care sector. Not only will covert surveillance impact on residents’ freedom, it may also have a knock on effect on the motivation of staff.

“We need to train, support and inspire the next generation of carers; not create a Big Brother culture where people are afraid to do this vital job.”

Other proposed changes which will be discussed in next year’s consultation include an Ofsted-style rating system for care homes.

Derry businesses scoring well for food safety

According to the latest food hygiene ratings, nearly all the food businesses in the Northern Irish city of Derry are performing very well when it comes to food safety.

Derry City Council’s rating scheme found that a total of 97 per cent of all food-serving businesses in the area achieved a rating of three stars or more. Ratings range from five stars, meaning ‘very good’ standards are being upheld, to zero, which means that ‘urgent improvements’ are necessary.

A three-star rating means that food hygiene in a business is satisfactory. However, businesses with three stars are being encouraged to take steps to improve food hygiene training and other measures so that next year, they can attain four or even five stars.

Encouraging customers in Derry to do their research before dining out or using a particular food business, the council’s senior environmental health officer Genevieve McWilliams said:

“The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a fantastic tool for all consumers in Derry to find out the hygiene standards of the food businesses in the area.

“The stickers make it easy for everyone to check a rating and if it is below three you should consider switching your choice rather than eat somewhere with a low hygiene rating. Our aim is to drive up standards so that all food businesses in the area have a rating of three or above.”