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After Oak Furnitureland’s parent company JB Global was hit with a six-figure fine for health and safety breaches, Swindon Borough Council said that this large fine reminds business to make employees’ health and safety a priority.

In 2016, an employee complained to the Council about working conditions in a division of Oak Furnitureland that prepared room divider sheets. Inspectors found that the sheets were being processed using glues in a poorly ventilated environment that was an explosion risk.

Additionally, personal protective equipment (PPE) masks were faulty and damaged, causing potentially cancer-causing MDF wood dust to be ingested. Council officers issued a Prohibition Notice immediately.

In a recent court case, JB Global pleaded guilty to these safety breaches and was fined nearly £400,000, plus costs of around £100,000.

JB Global said that since 2016, the company has made substantial changes to its health and safety procedures. The firm says it has learnt from their past failures. A new management team and CEO have expanded Oak Furnitureland and claims that the company has made health and safety a priority without sacrificing quality. A spokesperson said:

Speaking about the case, Swindon Borough Council’s Cathy Martin, cabinet member for health and safety, said:

 “I hope it serves as a reminder to all businesses of the need to put the health and safety of their employees at the forefront of their activities.”

This case highlights the importance of appropriate ventilation when solvents are used. All PPE needs to be checked regularly to make sure that it is in a condition to adequately protect workers from hazards.

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