The HSE has much to say on the subject of health and safety in garages and is very active in bringing prosecutions where necessary. (It has a dedicated page on its website).
There are examples of those in the trade being prosecuted, writes Adam Bernstein.
Back in September 2013, Perrys Motor Sales Ltd and S & Ash Ltd (previously known as Sound Advice Safety and Health Ltd.), were both convicted of safety breaches after a worker developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
Perrys pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 8 of The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013. As well as being fined £140,000 the company was also ordered to pay £7,658.67 in costs.
S & Ash Ltd, an occupational health firm, was engaged by Perrys to provide HAVS health surveillance for employees but failed to do so properly. It pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £4,000 and £8,716.17 in costs.
More recently, in March 2021, GP Motors Works Ltd on the Isle of Wight was fined after an employee suffered life changing injuries in September 2018 after falling into a five-foot-deep vehicle inspection pit whilst carrying out mechanical repairs to a nearby vehicle.
An investigation by the HSE found that the company had failed to ensure that the pit had any physical measures, such as barriers or pit covers in place to prevent a person falling into it.
GP Motor Works Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
And in December 2021, Birmingham-based STA Vehicle Centres was convicted for safety failings after two workers used brake cleaning fluid to degrease walls and caused a flash fire in March 2020. The HSE found that the company failed to carry out a risk assessment, had not considered replacing the dangerous substance with a non-flammable one nor using a different work process.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 6 (1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and was fined £28,000 plus £926.17 costs.