Cafe taken to court after dodging insurance

Foodservice operators are well aware of the repercussions of failing to comply with hygiene inspections, but one cafe business in Kent has come a cropper with the law over an altogether different obligation.

Ash Catering Limited, trading as Ashford Café, has been fined for failing to hold statutory insurance that enables employees to claim compensation should they be injured at work.

The business was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it established that it held no valid Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance, as the law requires.

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Canterbury Magistrates Court heard that HSE issued a notice to produce a valid ELCI certificate last September in response to a complaint.

A company director declined to be interviewed on the matter, but later admitted in writing that she was unaware of the requirement to have the insurance.

The company was fined a total £400 and ordered to pay a further £400 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

HSE Inspector Joanne Williams said that as well as being a long-standing legal requirement, Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance offers important protection for employers and employees alike.

“Without it, if a worker becomes ill or is injured at work, they will not be able to claim compensation from the employer. For employers, insurance covers the cost of legal fees and compensation payouts in the event of a claim by a worker.

“Ignorance is not an excuse and the failure of Ash Catering Limited to provide appropriate cover is a serious matter. HSE will continue to take legal action against companies where who fail to provide appropriate ELCI cover.”

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