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Builders merchant fined for dangerous floor

Birmingham builders merchant HRA Builders Merchants has been fined £11,585 including costs, following an inspection by officers from Birmingham City Council for building a dangerous mezzanine floor.
HRA’s owner Zaman Ali had built a mezzanine structure from racking parts and wood and this was discovered during routine inspection in November 2008 by an officer from the council’s health and safety regulatory team.

The structure was extremely unstable, not adequately fastened to the floor or walls of the warehouse and deemed to be at risk of collapse. It was therefore considered a danger to both employees and customers, Ali further increased the risk by allowing fork lift trucks to operate underneath the structure, placing both employees and customers in immediate danger. Prohibition notices were served on the structure and it was later dismantled.

Councillor Neil Eustace, Chair of the Public Protection Committee, Birmingham City Council Regulatory Services said: “I hope this result sends out the clear message to other businesses that it is unacceptable to place employees and members of the public at risk. This structure was little more than a game of Jenga waiting to topple. Had a fork lift truck collided with the structure, it no doubt would have collapsed, resulting in potentially fatal consequences to employees or customers who regularly passed underneath it. Although it is unusual for such action to be taken following an inspection, this case reflects how far the business had strayed from its duties.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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