Mushroom grower fined for "very disturbing" safety oversights

Suffolk Mushrooms has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £8,446.05 in costs after Health and Safety Executive inspectors found dangerous conditions at its Bury St Edmunds factory.

Mushrooms - image: HW
Mushrooms - image: HW

An inspection in 2010 found that gates on the work platforms used by employees to reach elevated mushroom beds were propped open, and a lorry regularly reversed 100m between the two growing sheds, posing a threat to pedestrians.

Inspectors also found that forklift trucks were being operated by inadequately trained drivers, and equipment was being towed around unsafely with pieces of knotted rope.

The company was also found to have housed 37 employees in a disused office block with an uncertified and potentially unsafe gas boiler, for which it was fined a further £750.

HSE Inspector John Claxton described the findings at the farm as "very disturbing", adding:

"Suffolk Mushrooms invested more than £1.5m in refurbishing its factory and mushroom growing equipment, yet failed to spend even a few hundred pounds to keep its employees safe."

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