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Fine for not protecting bearded workers

The owner of a stone masonry company has been fined for failing to supply the right masks to workers with facial hair.

Thomas Bushby (trading as JLD Stone) did not provide adequate control of silica – exposure to which can cause silicosis and lung cancer.

Consett magistrates’ court heard that operators were not provided with masks for tasks which they needed, while other workers were provided with masks which were not suitable due to their facial hair.

Stone dust was also swept up rather than vacuumed on sites.

Employees also carried out tasks using vibrating tools including air hammers where no assessment was made of the risk.

An employee of Thomas Bushby (trading as JLD Stone) was diagnosed with hand-arm vibration syndrome in 2009 and another was diagnosed with the condition in 2014.

An HSE investigation found that no health surveillance was carried out on Bushby’s employees between 2008 and 2014.

Regular health surveillance is a way to identify early symptoms of disease so action can be taken to stop it getting worse.

Thomas Bushby, of Castleside, Consett, was fined a total of £2,500 and was ordered to pay £1,921.29 in costs after pleading guilty to safety offences.

Speaking after the hearing Health and Safety Executive inspector Fiona McGarry said: “Serious irreversible ill health or even death can result from exposure to silica and hand arm vibration syndrome is a permanent disabling condition.

“Employers need to take action to ensure they are providing adequate control to protect the health of employees.”

Information Bite 161
November 2015