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Fabrication company fined for not improving air conditions for employees

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A metal fabrication company based in Lincolnshire has been fined £12,000 after not complying with three improvement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE is a government agency responsible for the regulation and enforcement of workplace health and safety in the UK. Improvement notices are issued by HSE inspectors to companies that fall short of legal compliance on issues such as respiratory protection in the workplace, to help them raise their standards to a level of legal compliance.

If an organisation continues to be non-compliant in matters of health and safety the HSE can, and does, pursue legal action – often resulting in fines or even time in prison.

The Lincolnshire based company was first advised of a problem with their respiratory protection measures in February 2018 following an HSE inspection. On follow up visits in December 2018 and April 2019, the company had not shown sufficient improvement to adequately protect their employees from hazardous exposure to wood dusts and powder coatings.

Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) and Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) are used in the workplace to reduce worker exposure to respiratory hazards such as dusts, fumes and biological agents. Without such control measures in place, employees can develop debilitating respiratory conditions such as occupational asthma, COPD or even fatal lung-diseases.

Respiratory diseases, caused by occupational exposure, account for around 12,000 deaths every year.

At Boston Magistrates’ Court, the company was found guilty of breaching Section 33(1) (g) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, fined £12,000.00 and ordered to pay further costs of £1,740.40.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Martin Giles said, “The failure to comply with an improvement notice is a serious offence. If you receive a notice, you should ensure you take appropriate action to correct the health and safety problems and breaches that are identified in the notice.”

 

For more information on RPE and appropriate control methods for minimising respiratory hazards in your workplace, please get in touch with one of our RPE Experts today.

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