A CHRISTMAS health and safety swoop has been carried out on shop premises in Minehead in an effort to protect staff during the festive season.
West Somerset Council’s health and safety team visited 20 shops in the town to give owners and managers advice on the risks to staff, especially at this time of the year when extra stock movements usually occurred.
Warning letters were issued to two businesses for serious contraventions of health and safety legislation.
Council health and well-being portfolio holder Councillor Kate Kravis said the contraventions would be followed up by officers.
Councillor Kravis said: “We have a duty to keep risks to staff and customers to a minimum.
“Our team found most businesses were pleased with the advice.
“The team revisited three shops the following day to ensure that businesses had complied with the advice for minor contraventions, such as removing damaged ladders and clearing fire exits.
“Our aim, in the first instance, is to educate the owners or managers of premises.
“However, we will not tolerate any undue risk to staff or to the public, who should be able to use local premises with confidence.”
The council team gave advice on slips and trips, stock movement, ladders, employment conditions, training needs of young people, and training and translations needs of migrant workers.
Councillor Kravis said during Christmas and the New Year shops had to manage more stock movement, which increased the risk of manual handling and slips and trips injuries.
The health and safety team also provided advice on how improvements could be made, including advising where safety knives were not in use.
Information concerning the use of ladders and stepladders was also provided.
Councillor Kravis said: “The majority of owners welcomed the officers’ visit, and most managers were managing the increase in stock movement well.
“The visits have given the team a good snapshot impression of health and safety in town centre premises.
“We will continue to be vigilant to ensure public safety.”
Any business owners or managers who would like health and safety advice can contact the council by calling 01643 703704 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.