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Stone Supplier Fined For Failing To Protect Staff

A NATURAL stone supplier has been fined for failing to protect workers from exposure to hazardous substances, despite a previous warning.
Teesdale Architectural Stone (TASL) was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failings identified in an inspection of its Barnard Castle premises on October 16, 2012.
Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard that TASL was not adequately controlling exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), a substance that can cause fatal lung diseases. Inspectors also found that the company was not carrying out the required health surveillance for the silica.
The court was told that a previous inspection in 2007 identified similar concerns, and that the company was given advice on suitable control measures. The HSE investigation found that despite tests revealing a high level of exposure to silica in 2007, little action had been taken to improve the control measures to reduce exposure. The 2012 inspection also identified that equipment was not maintained in efficient working order, in good repair and was not in a clean condition.
The court also heard that although health surveillance on employees was carried out once in 2007, no further health surveillance was provided for staff exposed to RCS.
Teesdale Architectural Stone, of Barnard Castle, County Durham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,525.40 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Sal Brecken said: ‘Cutting stone can cause a lot of dust, which, if it is not controlled, can cause serious health effects, the most serious being silicosis which in its most acute form can be fatal.
‘There is plenty of guidance available for stonemasons to help them improve control measures. There is no need to become ill through work activities and there is no excuse for companies not to follow the guidance.’
HSE is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.

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