A COUNCILLOR has spoken out about the “paramount importance” of health and safety at work after two directors were fined for breaching regulations.

Robert Gilbert, 55, and Christopher Sale, 45, were fined at Wood Green Crown Court on March 11 after an employee at Tile Depot Trading, in Cricklewood Lane, was seriously injured in June 2008.

The court heard how Mitesh Patel, who was 19-years-old at the time of the incident, had recently taken up his position at the tile supplier where his main duties were advising customers, heavy lifting, moving tiles and stocking the warehouse.

On June 19 2008 he was working in the store's warehouse when a colleague lost control of the fork lift truck he was operating, and pinned Mr Patel's leg against a wall. The staff member driving the fork lift had no licence or training in how to operate the machine.

As a result of the incident Mr Patel had to have his right leg amputated below the knee.

Gilbert and Sale, who were both directors at the company, which has since gone into administration, admitted failing to provide safe systems of work as well as training and supervision to ensure the health and safety of employees.

The pair had pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches at an earlier court hearing in September last year. Mr Gilbert was fined £12,000 with costs of £7,500 making a total of £19,500 to be paid within three years.

Mr Sale was fined £5,000 with costs of £4,000 making a total of £9,000 to be paid within three years.

Councillor Melvin Cohen, cabinet member for governance and civic affairs, said: "The tragic consequences of this case highlight just how crucial health and safety at work really is.

"A young man's life has been irrevocably changed by an accident which was entirely avoidable.

"I hope the fines imposed by the court service send out a strong message to employers about the paramount importance of ensuring the safety of those who work for them.”