A firm has been penalised for violating health and safety rules resulting in a £20,000 fine - Palmers Solicitors

A firm has been penalised for violating health and safety rules resulting in a £20,000 fine

A firm has been penalised for violating health and safety rules resulting in a £20,000 fine

A South East London-based joinery firm, F&E Joinery Limited, has been penalised with a fine of £20,000 due to its inability to manage wood dust exposure for its employees.

The company, located in Herne Hill, underwent an inspection in May 2022. The examination was part of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) initiative aiming to monitor woodworking companies because of the significant health hazards linked with wood dust exposure, such as occupational asthma risk.

The inspection revealed several shortcomings concerning wood dust exposure control, including an excessive amount of accumulated dust at the site.

The inspection that took place in May 2022 uncovered that some of the firm’s machinery was not connected to the local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system.

This system is crucial for wood dust extraction during wood processing. The LEV system is essential in minimising the volume of wood dust that becomes airborne and is subsequently inhaled during machining.

Over the past decade, the company had received two enforcement notices concerning their handling of wood dust.

On April 21, 2023, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, F&E Joinery Limited admitted to violating health and safety regulations and were penalised with a £20,000 fine.

HSE inspector Marcus Pope highlighted the importance of this case, saying it serves as a stern warning to the industry that HSE will not hesitate to prosecute in the face of severe health and safety shortcomings, particularly when prior enforcement and advice have been disregarded.

He continued to emphasise that wood dust exposure can lead to various occupational lung conditions, significantly deteriorating people’s quality of life and potentially causing early death.

If you are subject to an investigation by the HSE or are facing proceedings in a Magistrates Court, contact us today for guidance.