A paint coating specialist exposed its employees and others to lead, a court has heard.
Special Paint Coatings Limited failed to protect its workers and members of the public from the effects of lead exposure while refurbishing metal window frames at its premises on Newport High Street.
Lack of control
Newport Magistrates’ Court was told how the company, which specialises in industrial protective products for a wide range of sectors including heavy industry and maintenance, pressure-shot blasted old lead-based paint.
Investigating the incident in March 2015, the Health and Safety Executive found that there was an inadequate risk assessment and a lack of control measures to reduce the risk of exposing workers and others to lead.
Special Paint Coatings Limited, of Llewelyn Goch, St Fagans, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to offences under Regulation 5, Regulation 6 and Regulation 10 of the Control of Lead at Works Regulations 2002. It was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,324.
Lead is a cumulative toxicant that can have a devastating effect on multiple body systems. In addition to anaemia and kidney disease, it can also cause fatigue, headaches, convulsions and paralysis.
Spontaneous abortion, still births and low birth weight before or during pregnancy can occur in women.
There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe, so employers must do everything they can to prevent exposure.
People can be exposed through inhalation of lead particles generated by burning materials containing lead, such as stripping leaded paint, as in this case, or ingestion of lead-contaminated dust.
Other occupational and environmental sources include water and food, as well as traditional cosmetics and medicines.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: December 23, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown