The importance of risk assessments in the workplace has been emphasised in a court case that saw a Welsh business fined £30,000 this week.
Welsh magistrates punished the former Rhyl-based Natural Insulation Limited after hearing it breached health and safety regulations.
The firm, formerly known as Black Mountain Insulation Limited, made natural insulation items. An anonymous person initially voiced their worries about its safety set-up to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
HSE investigating officers found a risk of harm to employees. The examination showed that the company had not carried out a proper risk assessment necessary for hemp processing.
Hemp is used in compressed thermal insulating hemp fibre panels which protects buildings against the elements.
Poorly guarded machinery found
The officers also unearthed poorly guarded machinery.
Natural Insulation Limited admitted breaking Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), and Regulation 6 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.
Wrexham magistrates also ordered the firm to pay £59,000 costs.
The risk assessment in question was the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).
HSE inspectors found the firm’s assessment was both insufficient and unsuitable.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: March 18, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown