Company fined for exposing workers to harmful chemicals

Company fined for exposing workers to harmful chemicals
Posted 06th March 2019

When working with chemicals, employers must ensure that they effectively manage the risk of exposure, particularly those that are harmful to health. Chemical manufacturing company Fine Organics Ltd has been fined after failing to manage the risks, resulting in workers being exposed to chemicals that caused long terms damage to their skin.

Teeside Magistrates Court heard how employees working with chemicals at the company in Seals Sands, Teesside, were exposed to chemicals on a regular basis from October 2013 to December 2016, causing sensitisation of the skin.

Workers suffered from rashes from the exposure, with some unable to continue working at the site.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the case and found that Fine Organics had multiple failings in their handling of hazardous substances. They had failed to carry out a number of procedures, including a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, decontamination, having an effective system of health surveillance in place and preventing the release of hazardous substances and spread of contamination.

Fine Organics pleaded guilty to breaching 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £224,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,098.

HSE Inspector Julian Nettleton said: ‘This was a case where the company failed to assess the risk and failed to implement appropriate control measures to manage the risk of exposure to these chemicals. If this had been done, then workers would not have been exposed to the chemicals and suffered harm as a result.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. Founded in 1975, the organisation prevents work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. 

Libben Health and Safety can help you support your organisation in ensuring that you follow the ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’ (COSHH) regulations. We can assess the risks for you and all of our Health and Safety courses cover COSHH awareness. If you or your staff would like specific training in COSHH, we also offer COSHH awareness training. 

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