West Berkshire Council

Greene King fined £140,000 for 'woefully inadequate' employee health and safety

STOCK IMAGE: Scales of justice

Issued on: 27 November 2017

Following investigation by the Public Protection Partnership  Environmental Health Team, Greene King Retail Services of Westgate Brewery, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1QT, pleaded guilty to one offence in breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which took place at 'The Six Bells', Shinfield, Berkshire.

The guilty plea was entered when they appeared before Reading Crown Court on 17 November 2017.

The investigation commenced when the Environmental Health Team received a complaint from a local resident about the incident which took place on 29 June 2014.

2017 Green King Prosecution Burn Injury image
2017 Green King Prosecution Burn Injury image

An eighteen year old employee at the Greene King managed public house, 'The Six Bells',  was scalded by hot water from a container which was being transported to the sink by another Greene King employee.

The boiler which supplied hot water to the kitchen had broken and the repair was taking longer to fix than originally anticipated so employees were instructed to use a tea urn to provide hot water and those working in the kitchen were told to use two litre plastic ice cream cartons as containers to transport the hot water from the urn to the sink and to wrap their hands with cloth when doing so.

In sentencing the judge, HHJ Morris, said: "Any risk assessment that had been made was woefully inadequate and failed to take into account the most basic safety measure to avoid the very harm which actually occurred here namely scalding by hot water. I am satisfied that not only was Aaron Large exposed to the risk of harm but suffered the very harm he was exposed to by the company's failure."

Greene King pleaded guilty and was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs awarded to the prosecution.

Councillor Norman Jorgensen, Chairman of the Joint Public Protection Committee, said: "We think that the conviction will demonstrate to other businesses the importance of reviewing safety procedures whenever a change in working practices presents a new risk to employees.  We are also are pleased that Greene King have now taken steps to minimise the risk of scalding in their revised policy for dealing with premises that are subject to loss of a hot water supply.

"We encourage any employee who is concerned about health and safety at work to contact the Public Protection Partnership helpline: 01635 519930 or the Health and Safety Executive dependent on the premise."

Find out who to direct a Health and Safety complaint to.