Firms are being warned that they face being taken to court if they fail to adhere to enforcement notices or heed previous safety advice.
The warning from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) comes after it prosecuted a joinery company for repeatedly failing to thoroughly examine its exhaust ventilation systems and the lifting equipment on its rider-operated trucks.
Firm fined £5,000 for each breach
Essex-based Welsted Joinery Ltd was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £2,240.50 in costs after admitting a single breach of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulation and two breaches of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.
The HSE says the firm’s local exhaust ventilation system is used to extract potentially harmful wood dust.
Magistrates heard that following a number of inspection visits over the previous 10 years the company, of Cutlers Road, South Woodham Ferrers, had been issued with a series of enforcement notices related to various matters.
Woodworking industry being targeted
HSE Inspector Saffron Turnell says the prosecution of Welsted Joinery Ltd sent out a clear message to employers.
She says the HSE will prosecute companies when its inspectors uncover serious health and safety failings, particularly if previous health and safety at work advice and enforcement notices have been issued.
The inspector adds the HSE was currently targeting the woodworking sector as exposure to wood dust is linked to significant health risks.
Firms should follow the advice on the HSE’s website to ensure that they meet their statutory duties and properly manage the risk to workers posed by exposure to wood dust.
According to the HSE the woodworking industry has one of the highest accident rates in manufacturing. Most of the woodworking accidents happen as a result of contact with moving machinery.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: September 21, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown