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STONEMASON TV ROLE PROMPTS HSE VISIT AND PROSECUTION

Action not taken despite dust 300% above safe levels and enforcement notice

Atelier Limited from Peterborogh has been fined after the company failed to take action on “dangerous stone dust” despite an improvement notice issued by HSE. 

Prosecution follows appearance by the company in March 2010 on the BBC2 series, Mastercrafts, presented by Monty Don. A viewer contacted HSE to express concern over “inadequate precautions to protect workers from dust”.

HSE inspectors visited the company premises in May 2010 and served an Improvement Notice requiring action to cut exposure to dust generated during stonemasonry work to within the “legal limit”.

When action was checked it was found that, although improvements had been made, the ventilation system had not been thoroughly examined and tested. A second Improvement Notice was served yet when inspectors visited the premises for a third time the action recommended had not been carried out.

Tests taken earlier revealed that dust levels for employees were between 100% and 300% of safe levels.

Company failed to treat the issue with the seriousness it deserved

Atelier Limited pleaded guilty at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court to one charge of breaching section 33 (1) (g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,400.10.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Alison Ashworth said:

“Atelier were happy to get their moment on television, but rather less quick to protect their employees from a wholly avoidable risk that can have serious consequences and cause respiratory diseases.

We understand the pressure that small businesses are under and this company was given ample opportunity on a number of occasions to make the necessary improvements. HSE only brought this prosecution when it became clear that the company was dragging its heels and failing to treat this issue with the seriousness it deserved.

If you are a company and are issued with a notice requiring improvements to be made you can be expect to be prosecuted if you do not comply.”

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