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STONE MASONRY FIRM FAILS ON SILICA AND HAVS

Company owner fined over lack of health protection

The owner of a stone masonry company has been fined for failing to protect the health of the workforce who were exposed to preventable risk of suffering life-changing conditions.

Consett Magistrates heard that Thomas Bushby (JLD Stone T/A) failed to provide adequate control of respirable crystalline silica which can cause silicosis and lung cancer.

Operators were not provided with respiratory protection equipment (RPE) and other operators were provided with RPE which was not suitable, due to their facial hair. In addition, dust was swept up rather than vacuumed.

Workers diagnosed with HAVS

Employees carried out tasks using vibrating tools including air hammers. No assessment was made of the risk and lower vibration tools were not identified which would have greatly reduced exposure to vibration. The tools used produced very high vibration levels meaning employees were likely to be exposed above the exposure limit value (ELV).

One worker was diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome in 2009 and another was diagnosed with the condition in 2014. HSE investigators found that health surveillance was not carried out between 2008 and 2014.

Serious irreversible ill-health potential

Thomas Bushby, of Consett, was fined a total of £2,500 and was ordered to pay £1,921.29 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Regulation 7 (1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and Regulation 5 (1) and 7 (1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing Health and Safety Executive inspector Fiona McGarry said:

“Serious irreversible ill-health or even death can result from exposure to silica and hand arm vibration syndrome is a permanent disabling condition.

Employers need to take action to ensure they are providing adequate control to protect the health of employees.”

 

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