Company fined over health breach

16 Jan 2013

A paint sprayer suffered severe injuries after working with harmful substances at a Cambridge instrument company, leading to a £9,000 fine for the firm.

Working at Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd in Fulbourn, 36-year-old Adam Coventon suffered irritation to his eyes along with breathing difficulties, headaches, and lost the ability to concentrate. He is now no longer able to work.

Cambridge Magistrates' Court heard that the victim's job was to prepare and paint small components for scientific instruments. This involved chemicals including trichloroethylene and isocyanates found in the paint used.

In an investigation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to provide employees with sufficient health surveillance for workers using hazardous substances.

The HSE found that in addition to inadequate control, Prior Scientific Instruments did not provide suitable equipment to remove hazardous fumes from the workplace.

The court was told that the company employed a health and safety consultant, Keith Whiting, between September 2002 and December 2009. He did not give suitable advice and information to enable the company to ensure the health and wellbeing of their employees.

Trading as KW Consultants, Keith Whiting, of West Street, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, was fined £1,500, with costs of £1,000, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Prior Scientific Instruments Ltd, of Wilbraham Road, Fulbourn, Cambridge, was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £2,852 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the same legislation.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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