A natural stone supplier has been fined for putting the health of its workers at risk.
Employees at Teesdale Architectural Stone Ltd (TASL) were exposed to respirable crystalline silica – a substance that can cause fatal lung diseases.
A visit to the firm’s Barnard Castle premises on 16 October 2012 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the hazardous material was not being adequately controlled, despite a previous warning back in 2007.
Hazardous substances at work
Exposure to hazardous substances at work can be extremely dangerous.
Respirable crystalline silica is one of the most dangerous materials released by dust when cutting stone. It can be fatal in its most acute form – so employers need to take the necessary precautions to protect workers.
Employees who fall ill as a result of exposure to hazardous substances at work could be entitled to claim for compensation, especially if the company they work for has not adhered to recommended guidelines.
Accident Advice Helpline is always on hand to support people making personal injury claims.
Failure to improve control measures
The HSE investigation concluded little action had been taken to improve the control measures in order to reduce exposure, despite tests revealing a high level of exposure to silica following a previous investigation in 2007.
The most recent inspection also identified that equipment was not maintained in efficient working order, in good repair and was not in a clean condition, while no further health surveillance was provided for employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica seven years ago.
Teesdale Architectural Stone Ltd (TASL), of Harmire Road, Barnard Castle, County Durham, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,525.40 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.