The owner of a hairdressing salon in the Kentish seaside town of Herne Bay has found himself on the wrong side of the law after failing to produce a valid Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI) certificate.

Canterbury Magistrates' Court heard how a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation was prompted in August 2012 by an employee who was concerned that there was no cover in place. It was then confirmed that Rajan Patel had neglected to arrange ELCI for “Inspirations” when he took over the business last year.

As Mr Patel was unable to produce a valid ELCI certificate, this meant his staff had no means of pursuing a civil claim against the business had they been injured at work, or contracted a work-related illness or disease, in the interim period.

Mr Patel was fined £3,900 and ordered to pay £3,000 towards costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance Act 1969.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Caroline Fullman said, “Thankfully none of Mr Patel's employees suffered a work-related injury or illness that warranted a claim for damages, but had they done so they would have been denied a chance to claim the compensation as recompense for whatever pain and suffering they had endured.

That is the purpose of ELCI. It is not a trivial optional extra, it is a compulsory requirement that is designed solely to protect employees.

The law expects employers to take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent their workforce from being injured or becoming ill, but if incidents do occur then Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance cover is vital.”

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