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Company director sentenced after employees were exposed to hazardous substances

The director of an agricultural trailer manufacturing company has been sentenced for deliberately putting his workers at risk of developing severe lung disease and exposing them to substances harmful to health.

02 December 2019

The court heard that over time the director repeatedly exposed his employees to hazardous substances and deliberately hid unsafe working practices from HSE inspectors. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the employees regularly used aerosolised paints containing isocyanates and solvents to spray large tractor trailers. The investigation found that these activities were being carried out without adequate controls in place to prevent workers from breathing in harmful substances. Breathing in products containing isocyanates and solvents can cause occupational asthma, dizziness, liver and kidney damage.

The director pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 and 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months with 20 hours unpaid work, and ordered to pay costs of £5428.21.

A representative of the HSE said that the director “was well aware of the unsafe conditions that his employees were being subjected to whilst at work.”
“The effect of being exposed to these substances has resulted in at least one former employee developing a life changing condition, which could easily have been prevented if proper controls had been in place, such as suitable extraction and respiratory protective equipment.”

If you require any assistance or further assistance or guidance on implementing control measures for the hazards in your work place, please get in touch.

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