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Two firms have been hit with fines after exposing their workers to lead while refurbishing an iconic building in the Solent.

Surrey-based civil engineer Bam Nuttall and Four Tees Engineering from Hampshire were prosecuted following an HSE investigation.

The UK health and safety body acted after two workers, Russell Leggett and Robert Peach, were hospitalised after they inhaled dust and fumes from lead paint. The paint was covering a steel structure that was cut into redevelopment works on the Nab Tower.

Both workers were found to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, with Mr Leggett found to have nearly twice the acceptable limit.

Both workers needed treatment and blood monitoring over a period of months.

The HSE investigation found that both firms failed to protect the workers from lead contamination.

Bam Nuttall was aware of lead paint covering the steel, and failed to assess and implement control measures.

Four Tees was also found wanting in not applying adequate controls. It also failed to ensure workers were adequately supported medically through the works.

The investigation further found there were few measures in place to control dust from the lead spreading and causing contamination.

Following the hospitalisation of the two workers, stringent rules were brought in. These included introducing 'clean' and 'dirty' areas on site. Decontamination was required when moving between the two.

Better personal protective equipment (PPE) for the face was also introduced, as well as medical surveillance for staff.

Bam Nuttall received a fine and costs totalling over £62,000. Four Tees was handed fines and costs amounting to more than £16,000.

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