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Examples of enforcement - Public sector

Council fails to protect employee from prolonged exposure to a herbicide

A Council employee became disorientated and was reported missing after he spent the day spraying herbicide at recreation grounds throughout the borough. The injured person had not been trained in the proper use of the herbicide or had been given the correct protective equipment. He was found by a colleague the following morning wandering in a local park.


The Council pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of all employees engaged in spraying herbicide and failed to provide them with adequate information, instruction and training. The Council was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,747 costs.

Manual handling at an NHS trust

An HSE audit of an NHS Trust found poor manual handling practices, including employees transporting large quantities of medical records on inadequate trolleys. The Trust had failed to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments.


An Improvement Notice was served on the Trust requiring them to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments. The Trust complied with the Notice implementing the controls which involved among other things – redesigning medical records to avoid standing on desks; placing more records on micro fiche to reduce paper amounts and purchasing new trolleys which could be opened at the top, which also limited the weight staff had to push.

Updated 2009-02-06