A pharmaceutical firm has been fined after a worker was exposed to hazardous substances. Edinburgh-based Macfarlan Smith Limited admitted failing to review and ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employee, Michael Halpin, between April 2004 and January 2010. The company, which manufactures pharmaceutical products, was fined a total of £27,000.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Mr Halpin had been diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis, yet he continued to work with 14-hydroxycodeinone and other hazardous substances, including oxycodone. This was despite a medical professional advising him that he should stop working with the dangerous substances.
Mr Halpin had worked with Macfarlan Smith Limited for 17 years, but following the extent of his injuries the company considered it impossible to redeploy him to suitable alternative duties due to his sensitisation. His employment was terminated on 31 December 2010 on grounds of capability.
Macfarlan Smith Limited of Wheatfield Road, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The misuse of chemicals and hazardous substances accounts for a significant number of work-related injuries. Employers have a duty of care to protect all employees at all times, especially when working with hazardous substances. If you have fallen victim as a result of negligence on their part, you could be entitled to compensation.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 were put in place to protect employees from exposure to chemicals, preparations and other substances that could create a risk to health.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: May 12, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown