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An agricultural business in Lincolnshire has been taken to court because it failed to protect its employees from potential health hazards.

Marston Agricultural Services did not provide workers with enough protection to cope with the threats posed by the use of a certain chemical, which could have given them asthma.

After the ruling at the Magistrates’ Court at Grantham, the firm was obliged to pay a fine of £10,000, as well as costs over £13,000. The management of the agricultural organisation had been found to be in breach of relevant legislation dating from 1974.

Emma Madeley, of the Health and Safety Executive, explained:

“Marston Agricultural Services failed to adequately control their employees' exposure to hazardous chemicals over an extended period of time, despite having repeatedly received advice from HSE and others on the requirements of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations. Breathing in isocyanate paint mist can cause asthma.”

Madeley suggested that there is lots of information out there which can help employers wanting to look after their workforce properly. She explained that the website of the Health and Safety Executive was a great place to start looking for relevant information. She said that if businesses used PPE (person protective equipment) and monitored safety measures, they could limit the chances of their staff being harmed by working with isocyanates.

The asthma caused by working with isocyanates is often serious; it can mean that someone may have to leave their employment and the individual might not, in the future, be able to use domestic cleaning agents.

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