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Vehicle repair centre fined by HSE

Channel Commercials, a motor vehicle repair and maintenance company, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £3,936 in costs at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on September 28 for breaches of Health and Safety regulations.

The prosecution followed an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive into an incident that occurred on September 8, 2004. David Paling, a 50-year-old HGV driver, fell into an unguarded wash pit as he visited the premises to collect a trailer.

Paling, from Charlton, suffered a cut to his head which required five stitches, a fractured right shoulder and a sprained ankle.

Channel Commercials Plc, of Brunswick Road, Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate, Ashford, was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company, which repairs LCVs and HGVs, was also ordered to pay full costs of £3,936, they had entered a guilty plea at an earlier hearing.

After the hearing, Jan Combs, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, said: "The dangers of falling into pits is well publicised by HSE's website and company was specifically warned of the dangers inherent in their unguarded wash pit by Health and Safety Awareness Officer about a month before the incident. Sadly, they still failed to provide a suitable assessment of the risks of this particular area.

"Immediately after the accident the company took the simple but effective measures needed to protect visitors in the vicinity of the wash pit."

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