Masonry company handed suspended prison sentence for failing to protect their workers

July 28, 2014

It is good to see the HSE taking serious action against companies who take risks with their employee’s health. As far as we are aware this is the first time prison has been mentioned. However, whilst the director’s prison sentence is suspended the employees’ silicosis is not.

Companies who do not install adequate ventilation are putting their employees at risk

Silicosis is the lung condition people get from exposure to silica from the likes of stone dust. It can lead to major illness or death and yet there are still companies who are knowingly putting their employees’ lives at risk by not installing adequate extraction.

They were warned

In this case, the HSE had visited the factory in January 2013 and warned the company that an extraction ventilation system in the factory was inadequate and hadn’t been properly tested to ensure it was fit for purpose. Yet the company did not remedy the situation and on the 17th July this year, the company and director Ghausal Islam was sentenced to 10 months in prison and fined £9000 in costs. Had he had the means to pay, the fine would have been £50,000 according to the judge.

What should they have done?

It is the duty of the company according to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to protect the health and safety at work of their employees

As part of this, their extraction systems should have been tested on a yearly basis and any remedial works are undertaken. This is precisely the type of work we undertake for our clients here at Vent-Tech – ensuring that their staff are safe healthwise and that they themselves are safe from prosecution.

So next time you hear of someone who is putting off an LEV project or not getting their systems tested just ask them what the cost could be to them in human and monetary terms.

If you have any questions please contact us on 0117 971 2163 or fill into one of our contact forms. We’d also be interested in hearing your comments below.