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Former landlord of The Bull fined for health and safety offences

He failed to undertake a suitable noise at work risk assessment

Date issued: 24 May 2018

The former landlord of The Bull, a popular pub and gig venue in Crouch Street, Colchester, has been successfully prosecuted by Colchester Borough Council for failing to undertake a suitable noise at work risk assessment and failing to comply with an Improvement Notice under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Chelmsford magistrates had previously found him guilty in his absence on 6th September 2018.

Mr Colin Smith (52) was first asked for a copy of the pub's noise at work assessments in May 2017.

The paperwork did not materialise, so several months later an Improvement Notice was served requiring the pub to complete its assessments. Smith eventually sent forms to the council, but these were incomplete and missing key information which was required by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations.

Although officers contacted Smith for the missing information, it was not provided, and the council brought a prosecution, culminating in the sentencing hearing yesterday (23 May 2019).

Magistrates awarded the council its full costs of £6432.74 and fined Smith £240 and a £30 victim surcharge. In mitigation Smith, who defended himself, told the court his business had failed despite two years of trying, that he had no home and was currently staying in his partner’s mother’s caravan on Canvey Island.

The Bull was initially approached as part of an ongoing campaign by the council to raise the issue of damaging noise at work with music and entertainment venues around the borough.

Cllr Mike Lilley, Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “Excessive noise at work can cause permanent, severe hearing loss and tinnitus, prevent people hearing warnings, and increases stress. We expect businesses to take all aspects of health and safety seriously and to keep appropriate records.

“This case could have been avoided if the venue had engaged with officers and met their duties as an employer. We always take action when an Improvement Notice is not complied with.”

For more information about health and safety, please visit www.colchester.gov.uk/healthandsafety.

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