HEALTH and safety chiefs have ordered Wrexham Council to make improvements after it was found to have breached laws designed to keep workers safe.

It coincides with the publishing of a report highlighting a string of issues, including a child bringing a BB gun to school and concerns over the safety of staff leaving one of the authority’s main offices on Lambpit Street.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out a review of the council’s policies after it was prosecuted in 2017 for failing to protect employees from vibrations in the workplace.

It identified a number of contraventions of health and safety laws, such as danger being posed to the health of staff at Ysgol Bryn Alyn in Gwersyllt because of asbestos.

The HSE said the authority would now be required to pay a fee because of what it described as ‘material’ breaches of the law.

Some of the problems could have led to the council being prosecuted for a second time, but it acknowledged steps were being taken to address the concerns raised.

In a report, officials said: “The observations have identified instances where risk assessments have been found to be absent or inadequate, by failing to identify risks or control measures.

“Risk assessments are the first step for identifying the hazards and it is likely that, where risk assessments are lacking, the corresponding controls will be lacking, as was found in the inspections.

“Some of these breaches indicate a failure to have learned lessons from the recent prosecution.

“However, the council had already begun a project of reviewing the senior management structure, revised certain health and safety arrangements with a view to a long-term improvement in health and safety management.”

A report set to be considered by councillors next week shows 31 health and safety incidents were raised to the council’s chief executive in 2018/19.

They included a pupil bringing a BB gun to school in April this year, which resulted in a compulsory workshop being held for all schools.

Meanwhile, services were withdrawn from a traveller site in March after a staff member was threatened.

One outstanding issue which has yet to be addressed is the safety of employees leaving its offices on Lambpit Street in Wrexham, where anti-social behaviour problems have previously been experienced.

As a temporary measure, the council has fenced off redundant buildings at the back of the complex and is seeking quotes to demolish them, as well as looking to install railings and shutters at the entrance.

Chief executive Ian Bancroft has pledged to address the separate breaches highlighted by the HSE, including the need to protect staff against hand arm vibration syndrome more effectively, by June next year.

In his response to their findings, Mr Bancroft said: “Wrexham Council has a commitment to improve health and safety performance through strong leadership and increasing levels of consultation with employees.

“We are continuing to work to address these both in terms of the overall health and safety governance framework and the operational roles and responsibilities.

“The breaches have been drawn to the attention of the two chief officers and corporate health and safety will undertake reviews in three months to ensure these have been acted upon.

“We recognise that we have further work to do and we will use the recommendations in your report to further strengthen health and safety performance including redrafting our health and safety policy.”

A report set to be examined by the council’s customers, performance, resources and governance scrutiny committee reveals the council has incurred potential costs of close to £400,000 as a result of insurance claims by staff since 2015.

While only just under £24,000 has been paid out to date, around £373,000 has been set aside by insurance companies to cover claims that have yet to be settled.

The highest amount of £205,000 related to four claims by school staff who were injured by students.

The report will be discussed at a meeting at Wrexham’s Guildhall on Wednesday.