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Leeds company fined after workers health put at risk

Furnace relining company, Calderys UK Ltd, has today been sentenced for failing to control exposure to both vibration and silica for its workers.

Leeds Crown Court heard the company reported two cases of employees suffering Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) in early 2017 and during the subsequent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation it was found that no measures had been put in place to control exposure to vibration when using pneumatic tools. It was also found there was no health surveillance put in place to identify any early signs of effects on worker health. These failings had been going on from as early as 2006.

The investigation also found that between April 2004 and December 2017, no measures were implemented to control workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica while stripping and replacing furnace linings, and no health surveillance was put in place, despite previous advice from HSE indicating what was needed.

Calderys UK Ltd of Gildersome Spur, Morley, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(1) and 7(1) of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. The company also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 7(1) and 11(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. The company has been fined £60,000 with £4,864 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Julian Franklin commented: “Exposure to vibration can cause HAVS, a loss of nerve function, strength and dexterity in the fingers which is permanent and untreatable while exposure to silica can cause silicosis, leading to impaired lung function, lung cancer and death. It can also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

"Companies should know HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those failing to protect their workers.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent 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. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. Further information is available about the legislation referred to in this case.
  3. Latest HSE press releases.
Updated: 2018-12-11