Bedford furniture firm fined £67,000 over worker's life-threatening warehouse fall

Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd and its director were fined tens of thousands of pounds at Luton Magistrates' Court over multiple health and safety breaches.
Credit: PA
The company was fined £67,000 over health and safety breaches. Stock image. Credit: PA

A furniture retailer has been ordered to pay out more than £77,000 after a worker suffered life-threatening injuries in a warehouse fall.

Exclusive Oriental Classics, which has a warehouse in Bedford, and its director were fined £67,145 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after a hearing at Luton Magistrates' Court.

Employees had been told to work at height without the correct safety measures to protect them, an investigation by Bedford Borough Council revealed.

The firm, which trades online, and its director Kian Hoo Tay admitted multiple breaches of health and safety laws.

An employee fell about 3m (10ft) from racking in the warehouse on Ampthill Road on 1 March 2022, prompting a council investigation into Exclusive Oriental Classics.

Environmental health officers identified several health and safety failings and significant failures to manage risks relating to the health and safety of employees.

This included the installation, inspection, maintenance and use of the racking and the investigation was passed onto the Health and Safety Executive, said the council.

The court found the firm and its director had not put in recognised industry standards and allowed the safety breaches to carry on over a long period of time.

Bedford borough councillor Phillippa Martin-Moran-Bryant said: "The safety of our residents and employees is paramount.

"This case highlights the importance of strict adherence to health and safety regulations within the workplace and I would like to thank the officers involved for all their hard work.

"We will not tolerate negligence that puts lives at risk.

"Employers must recognise their responsibility to provide safe working environments for their employees.

"Bedford Borough Council will continue to rigorously enforce health and safety standards and concern for workers with determination, to ensure those businesses that fail to protect their employees, and others who may be affected by their activities, are held accountable."

Exclusive Oriental Classics is registered in Harrow.

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