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Gower golf club owner fined after staff accident

Gower golf club (Twitter/X)

The Gower Golf Course Ltd and owner of Gower Golf Club have pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety at work regulations after an employee was injured following an accident on the course in a maintenance buggy.

The poorly-maintained buggy crashed into a ditch and the employee suffered head, leg and back injuries after the brakes failed on the Kawasaki Mule he was driving.

At Swansea Magistrates court on 24th January 2024 the golf club owner Adrian Richards, who is also the company’s sole director, pleaded guilty on behalf of himself and the company to three health and safety charges relating to the incident and other breaches identified on site.

Separately, Mr Richards and the company also pleaded guilty to four food hygiene offences, including failure to ensure hot and cold running water for cleaning kitchen equipment, failure to provide washbasins for staff to keep their hands clean and failing to keep food premises cleaned and maintained.

These prosecutions are not the first time the club has been in court for food hygiene offences as it had been prosecuted both in 2011 and 2017 for similar problems around cleanliness and food safety.

In total Gower Golf Course Ltd was ordered to pay £25,260 in fines and costs and the director was ordered to pay £2,700 in fines and a £190 victim surcharge.

The court was told that when a consultant vehicle engineer examined the buggy after the crash he found a brake pipe had substantial chaffing damage and other defects.

Magistrates heard that the company and Mr Richards had failed to ensure other equipment was being safely maintained, including tractors, mowers, buggies, turf maintenance machinery and chainsaws. There was no evidence of a maintenance log for the buggy involved in the crash, nor for other equipment.

David Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Performance, said: “The safety of wellbeing of employees should be the top priority of any employer. Clearly Gower Golf Club and Mr Richards fell well short of legal expectations.

“Customers too were being let down because of the poor standard of food hygiene in kitchen and food storage areas. Submissions to the court indicated that there was clear evidence of significant disregard for food hygiene standards at the club and the history of poor food hygiene had resulted in many complaints regarding the food business.”

Cllr Hopkins said: “Most Swansea businesses in Swansea comply with health, safety and other regulations that keep employees, customers and other people safe. But cases like this should also act as a warning that the council will prosecute where there is evidence that legal standards are not being maintained.”