HSE prosecutes car body repair company for failing to protect their employees from Isocyanates

July 13, 2015

Companies have a legal reponsibility to protect their employees from harmful substances, but unfortunately many are still failing to fulfil their responsibilities – and this can lead to prosecution by the HSE.

The company at the centre of this prosecution (Christopher Hutton, trading as Auto Bodyworks and Wheel Clinic) did actually have a spray booth in place, however following an HSE inspection they were asked to provide documentation showing that they had complied with their ongoing legal duties to protect their workers.

When this documentation failed to appear they were issued with legal improvement notices to provide health surveillance to any employees exposed to isocyanates and also to carry out a thorough examination and test (often known as a COSHH Test) of the spray booth to ensure that it was adequately controlling the exposure of employees to substances hazardous to health. When they failed to comply with the improvement notices they were prosecuted in court by the HSE and received a fine of £4000 plus £1600 costs – and of course potentially worse than this is all the negative publicity they are receiving after the HSE named and shamed them.

So what are your legal responsibilities?

Employers have to comply with the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations.  These state that any LEV system must be working and used properly, complete with a user manual and maintenance logbook and inspected at the very least every 14 months by a ‘competent person’.

This inspection is known as a COSHH test (often also referred to as an LEV test) and it was the lack of any evidence that such an inspection had taken place which was one of the reasons that this company was prosecuted.

Staying on the right side of the law with our 3-year contracts

As an employer, it is your responsibility to make sure that these regular inspections are planned in and undertaken in time. We know that things get busy and sometimes things even get forgotten so we have introduced 3-year contracts as an option to take much of that responsibility out of your hands. Advantages for your business include:

  • Peace of mind that we will call you to book in the tests – so you are legally compliant and won’t end up in the dock like the unfortunate Mr Hutton
  • Better value than booking tests in on a one-off basis
  • It can help you budget as you will know what you need to spend on testing over the next 3 years
  • For larger jobs, the payments can be spread monthly if required
  • Access to the industry experts at Vent-Tech if you have any questions. Adrian Sims our director runs courses on behalf of the BOHS as well as holding all the BOHS qualifications, so you can be confident you are talking to someone who knows what he’s talking about!

Special Offer – Free access to our LEV Vault

If you take out a 3-year contract with Vent-Tech for COSHH testing following this blog, we will also offer you free access to our hosted LEV Vault for the duration.

The LEV Vault provides secure online storage of all your LEV documentation – and we will upload your inspection reports to it for you. So if the HSE ever asked you for evidence of a inspection, with a couple of clicks you could show it to them then and there. For more information about our LEV vault, click here.

To find out if our COSHH testing contracts could be a good option for your business, please give us a call on 0117 971 2163 or fill in the contact form on the right.