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    DERMATITIS RISK IN CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS FACTORY

    Putty manufacturer failed to provide adequate washing facilities for workers

    Mike Wye and Associates Ltd, a North Devon decorating supplies firm, have been prosecuted after failing to provide employees with facilities to control the risk of contracting dermatitis.

    The company, who produce natural building and decorating products, failed to provide hot water over a period of four years despite workers using hydrated lime for the manufacture of lime putty. Hydrated lime is a well-known irritant to both skin and eyes and can cause dermatitis.

    Barnstaple Magistrates heard that running water was provided but the water froze in the winter.

    Dermatitis is a skin condition caused by contact with something that irritates the skin or causes an allergic reaction. It usually occurs where the irritant touches the skin, but not always. Someone who has dermatitis may experience symptoms of itching and pain. The signs and symptoms of this condition can be so bad that the sufferer is unable to carry on at work.

    Provision of water a “basic right”

    The company pleaded guilty to three contraventions of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and were fined a total of £3,500 with £588 costs.

    After the hearing, HSE Inspector, Simon Jones, said:

    “The provision of hot running water is one of the most basic rights for workers, especially when they are dealing with materials that could cause skin disease.

    Although the company provided cold water and gel this did not encourage workers to wash their hands.”

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