A food superstore in Hayes and its director have been ordered to pay hefty penalties totalling £111,225. Quality Foods on the Uxbridge Road in Hayes, failed to comply with Hillingdon Council’s improvement notices after Environmental Health officers uncovered serious risks to public safety following a complaint.
On Friday 8 October, Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court heard how the food store put its customers and the public at serious risk of injury due to the dangerous way deliveries were handled. In addition to this, there was also a lack of traffic management of the car park.
The car park described as “chaotic” had traffic going two ways and Heavy Goods Vehicles delivering in pedestrianised areas. There were no separate routes for vehicles and pedestrians, nor signage to warn people, and there was poor control of deliveries and customer vehicles in the car park.
During an inspection in March 2020, Environmental Health officers saw lorries entering the car park to deliver goods and unloading very close to pedestrians. They also observed a lorry reversing onto a faded pedestrian crossing without anyone directing the lorry to reverse or stop if there were people passing by. It was at this point officers feared there was a risk of a collision with pedestrians.
Following the visit, officers issued an improvement notice to LB Enterprise Limited which operates Quality Food and its Director. The notice required the store to install clear signage; separate routes for pedestrians and vehicles; clearly marked crossings with barriers; a system to inform staff about onsite rules; and a system to check, monitor and record compliance.
As a result, the judge ordered LB Enterprise to pay £92,335, which included a fine of £85,000, legal costs of £7145 and a victim surcharge of £190. In addition, the director was fined £18,700 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £190.
Cllr John Riley, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Safety and Transport, said: “Every business has a duty of care to protect its customers and staff from harm. Quality Foods and its director failed to carry out the necessary improvements required to prevent a near miss or serious injury – and now they are left with huge fines to pay. One visit alone uncovered how serious the situation was, leaving our Environmental Health team no choice but to intervene and take the matter to court. We will continue to ensure businesses are complying with Health and Safety regulations and I hope this case serves as a warning to other businesses who are operating dangerously.”