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CONSULTANT AND CLIENT PROSECUTED

Inadequate assessment lands consultant and client in Court

Health and safety consultant Richard Atterby of York has been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £700 by way of HSW Act Section 36 following his failure to make a suitable assessment of the risks to health from respirable crystalline silica. In addition, his client George Farrar (Quarries) Ltd of Keighley has been ordered to pay over £10k in related fines and prosecution costs.

HSE Principal Inspector Keith King said: “The risk assessment done by Mr Atterby was superficial and totally inadequate and it led to a high risk of exposure to respirable silica during stonemasonry work because effective measures to mitigate exposure were not determined and implemented. This should serve as a salutary lesson for all employers who rely too readily upon paid advisers. You cannot outsource your responsibilities – the duty of care remains with you as an employer and the selection and use you make of consultants is crucial. He added “Consultants should not attempt to give advice on matters unless they have adequate knowledge, training, skills and experience to make the right decisions about risks and precautions that are needed.”

Comment: Legal proceedings against health and safety consultants are rarely inititated by HSE. This case is a reminder that consultants must stay within their limits of competence and carry out their work with great care. Clients need to consider and follow HSE advice on selecting H&S advisers

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