Factory workers were put at risk of industrial deafness by being exposed to noise levels which twice exceeded permitted safety levels for years, a court has heard.
West Yorkshire-based Fibreline Ltd has been fined £15,000 for not protecting employees from high machinery-produced noise levels.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the feather and furnishings firm at Bradford Crown Court on October 7 for breaking safety laws.
The business had made no proper noise level review at the plant for seven years up to 2013.
The court heard that in 2008 the factory’s noise volume increased to between double and triple the maximum permissible on the arrival of its third pillow production machine.
Noise levels also became excessive in 2011 when a pair of glue-spraying units were placed next to each other in the foam-production process.
No hearing protection
The court heard that staff did not start wearing hearing protection until 2013.
This was the same year that Fibreline introduced health monitoring schedules testing staff’s exposure to noise.
The firm was also told to pay costs of £4,457 after pleading guilty to breaking Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
David Welsh, an HSE inspector, said after the case, that prolonged subjection to excessive noise levels in the workplace can lead to loss of hearing.
Mr Welsh says it is key for bosses to take steps to stop their workers from being subjected to damaging noise levels.
He adds that if they cannot stop this kind of exposure then they should make sure that employees wear the appropriate hearing safeguards as well as receiving frequent health monitoring.
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Date Published: October 9, 2014
Author: David Brown