Avoidable asthma risks land firm with fine

An agricultural machinery manufacturer has been ordered to pay more than £23,000 after workers were exposed to a hazardous chemical which has the potential to cause asthma.

Grantham Magistrates’ Court was told on Monday that Lincolnshire-based Marston Agricultural Services Ltd made employees spray trailers with isocyanate-containing paint without weighing up the possible risks and giving them appropriate protection.

If you have suffered long-term damage as a result of an industrial incident at work you may be eligible to claim compensation. There is no-one better equipped to help you than Accident Advice Helpline.

Unsafe working environment

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered the issues after a surprise visit to the firm’s site on Toll Bar Road, Marston, Grantham, on June 20, 2011.

It discovered employees were spraying large quantities of paint using inadequate
respiratory protective equipment and spray booths.

The booths were in substandard condition and the doors to them were open while in use. Parts of the trailers were also in the workshop, increasing the risk of considerable exposure.

While workers were given protective equipment, the overalls were torn and the gloves did not provide the protection needed to stop chemicals reaching skin.

In addition, the hygiene facilities available to employees were extremely unhygienic, causing many to avoid them. Inspectors noted there was an emergency shower that had not been working for years.

Company ignored warnings

Marston Agricultural Services Ltd admitted to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £10,000 with £13,420 payable in costs.

HSE inspector Emma Madeley said: “Marston Agricultural Services failed to adequately control their employees’ exposure to hazardous chemicals over an extended period of time, despite having repeatedly received advice from HSE and others on the requirements of the Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations.”

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