Maintenance firm fined for woodworking safety failings
A property maintenance company has been found guilty of breaching health and safety laws, which risked the wellbeing of its workers in a woodworking workshop.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the action against High Peak Remedial Services Ltd after the firm failed to obey an Improvement Notice. The enforcement ruled that High Peak needed to have its wood dust extraction system thoroughly tested.
A serious risk to health, wood dust can cause many problems if the right personal protective equipment (PPE) is not worn. A worker not wearing a full dust mask, for example, could contract nasal cancer by repeatedly inhaling the dust.
Firms with woodworking premises are likewise legally required to ensure that dust does not become airborne. Extractors must also be tested every 14 months as a minimum.
After the HSE visit, the firm was given eight weeks to act on the enforcement instruction. It failed to do this, asking for a four week extension, but again failed to have the test undertaken.
Speaking after the verdict was handed down, the HSE inspector on the case, Emily Osborne, stated that High Peak had put its workers' health at risk by not complying with the order and using an untested extraction unit.
“The latest figures show carpenters and joiners are four times more likely to get asthma compared with other workers in the UK. I’d therefore urge firms to take the risks seriously...”
Stockport-based High Peak pleaded guilty and was fined £8,000. It was also ordered to pay the HSE prosecution costs of £1,662