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    JOINERS FAILED TO COMPLY WITH IMPROVEMENT NOTICE

    Dust extraction system not maintained in an efficient state to control wood dust

    Blackstone Developments (South West) Ltd  has been prosecuted after failing to take sufficient action to improve a dust extraction system used to control exposure to wood dust. HSE visited the firms factory in Netham, Bristol on 9 February 2011 and found that the  company had not compled with an Improvement Notice issued on 7 October 2010.

    Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) plant, used to control the emission of wood dust was not working in an efficient state and maintained in good repair. The architectural and traditional joiners (who use hard and soft wood) had been required to make make the necessary improvements after the initial visit in October.

    At the check visit in February 2011 HSE found that action had not been taken to comply with the Improvement Notice and decided to institute legal proceedings.

    Dust can pose asthma, dermatitis and cancer

    Blackstone Developments (South West) Ltd of The Old Schoolhouse, 75a Jacobs Wells Road, Bristol, pleaded guilty to contravening the requirements of an Improvement Notice served under Section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which is an offence under Section 33 (1) (g) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The firm were fined £3,750 and ordered to pay £836.50 in costs.

    After sentencing, HSE Inspector, Christine Haberfield, said:

    “Woodworking dusts can be potentially harmful to health. They can cause asthma and dermatitis and some are linked to cancer.It is imperative that where local exhaust ventilation is provided to prevent employees breathing in the dust, it is maintained and examined to ensure that it is working properly.

    Any company that does not take these steps will face enforcement action by HSE. Companies need to be aware that Improvement Notices are a last chance to get their house in order and we will normally prosecute if they have not been complied with by the set date.”

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