GHA £250k H&S breach sentence to be reheard

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The sentence handed to GHA Coaches Ltd for health and safety breaches has been ‘reopened by the court,’ the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has told CBW.

The operator was originally fined £250,000 for failing to have lifting equipment thoroughly examined – and then failing to comply with improvement notice requiring that examination of lifting equipment.

Wrexham Magistrates’ Court heard how between April 4, 2014 and August 28, 2015,  the Ruabon-based coach and bus operator failed to have its lifting equipment thoroughly examined within the required timescales to ensure that health and safety conditions were maintained and that any deterioration could be detected and remedied in good time.

In 2015, an inspection revealed overdue Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) examinations on at least 14 items. An improvement notice was served and extended twice, and still resulted in a failure to comply.

An investigation by the HSE found that a previous improvement notice was served in 2011.

North Wales’ largest independent operator, GHA Coaches Limited, of Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Ruabon, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(3)(a)(ii) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), and was fined a total of £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,068.

HSE originally put out a news release online explaining the decision, but since the sentencing was reopened, this was removed from its website.

Asked by CBW for comment, GHA Coaches said a statement was in preparation but was not received as this issue went to press.