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The owner of a stone masonry company has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to keep his staff safe from the harmful effects of breathing in stone dust.
Thomas Bushby, trading as JLD Stone, was investigated by the HSE after two employees were diagnosed with hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
The HSE discovered that Mr Bushby had not provided adequate control of the dust that comes from cutting stone, especially silica which causes silicosis and lung cancer. Employees were not provided with masks, or they were provided with masks that weren’t suitable for the wearer. It was also found that stone dust was swept up, rather than vacuumed, meaning that a lot more of the dust was left in the air.
Employees at JLD Stone used many vibrating tools such as air hammers, but no risk assessments were done for the use of these machines. The HSE found that low vibration tools were not considered which would have lowered the risk of vibration-induced injuries. The tools in use were found to have very high vibration levels, so employees were exposed to vibrations above the legal limit.
The HSE discovered that Mr Bushby had not carried out any health surveillance on his employees between 2008 and 2014. Health surveillance on a regular basis can identify early symptoms of disease so action can be taken to stop it getting worse.
Thomas Bushby was fined £2,500 and was ordered to pay £1,921.29 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.
Employees have a duty of care to keep their employees safe from accidents at work at all times. This includes providing the right equipment for the job and the right safety equipment. In this case employees were exposed to toxic stone dust and excessive vibrations from tools. If you are asked to do a job and don’t believe it to be safe, or you haven’t been given the right tools to do the job, you have the right to say no.
If you get injured at work through no fault of your own, or you develop a work-related illness, then you have the right to claim compensation from your employer’s insurance company. All employers in the UK are required to have insurance, so you would receive compensation without harming your boss’ business. If you do put in a claim for a work place injury and receive compensation, you cannot be dismissed or discriminated against in any way.
The personal injury lawyers at Claims Direct help you if you have been injured at work on a no win no fee basis.
For a free consultation call Claims Direct on freephone 0800 884 0321 or start your claim online and we will call you.
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