Firm fined over fumes breaches

31 Oct 2011

A £5,500 fine has been imposed on a South Tyneside firm for jeopardizing workers' health by exposing them to fumes that are known to be a significant cause of occupational asthma in the UK.

Variable Message Signs Limited in Hebburn was found by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to be failing in the way it was controlling the risk of workers breathing in the fumes during soldering work.

South Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard that soldering was carried out by test engineers making repairs using rosin based solder flux. they were known to have soldered for up to four hours a day with no extraction system in place, despite previous advice from HSE. The fumes are known to be a significant cause of occupational asthma in the UK.

The court heard that the firm has since moved to the use of rosin-free solder, but at the time failed to provide appropriate health surveillance, a legal requirement when employees are exposed to substances capable of causing occupational asthma.

The firm, of Monkton Business Park, North Mill Lane, was also ordered to pay £4,291.25 in costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

Copyright Press Association 2011



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