Car wash owner fined over unsafe worker accommodation
AHMED MAHMOUD Hussain, who operated the Pit Stop Car Wash in Shipley, Bradford, was fined £5,380 over ‘dangerous and unhygienic’ accommodation for workers.
Examiner Live reported on the prosecution of Mr Husain by Bradford Council, with the site having received an emergency prohibition order in March 2015 that forbade the property from being ‘used for habitation’ due to the risk of fire, with the occupants soon after vacating the property. However, council housing standards officers acted on a tip off in July 2019, and inspected the site, discovering ‘clear evidence of people living in poor quality and dangerous living spaces’ on site.
The inspection visit took place alongside representatives from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the police, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority as well as West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS). The rooms found had beds, furniture, mobile phones and clothing, with a ‘strong smell of commercial chemicals’ discovered alongside ‘poor’ ventilation, no fire alarms and ‘inadequate’ evacuation routes.
In turn, the officers found a ‘filthy kitchen area’ with a homemade rat trap ‘consisting of a plank of wood leading up to a bucket of water’, alongside a temporary stove, liquid petroleum gas tanks, a ‘makeshift’ sink and open cupboards. This latest visit had come from tip offs and complaints that the property ‘was again being used as accommodation by workers’, and WYFRS and housing standards officers believed the accommodation ‘presented serious risks to the occupants’ safety, health and wellbeing’.
As a consequence, Mr Hussain was convicted of breaching the emergency prohibition order, and was fined £5,380 as well as council costs of £373 and a victim surcharge of £181. Alex Ross-Shaw, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, commented: ‘We welcome the court’s ruling on this prosecution. It's disgraceful to house people in such dangerous and unhygienic conditions.
‘We will take every action available to us against rogue business operators and landlords who flout environmental and planning laws.’