Rolls Royce PLC fined £120,000 after five workers exposed to hazardous substance

Thursday, 4th Sep '08 at 10:08

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned companies to have safe systems in place for employees in contact with hazardous substances. This message comes after five Chesterfield agency workers, employed by Rolls Royce plc, suffered skin rashes and chest problems as a result of being exposed to hazardous materials.

Rolls Royce plc of Derby was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £ 12,122.53 costs, at Derby Crown Court today after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure, as far as was reasonably practical, that employees were not exposed to hazardous substances.

Between 25 July and 7 October 2005, five agency workers, four from the Chesterfield area, including Paul Blenkiron, 38, and Ian Austin, 62, from Scotland, worked on the decommissioning of the light alloy foundry on Osmaston Road which involved the removal of plant and materials and work with hot cutting equipment. As the risks had not been properly identified, safe working practices were not put in place. The men were exposed to hazardous substances including potassium fluorosilicate, fume from hot metal cutting, and oxides of sulphur, resulting in all suffering from skin rashes and two of the men suffering respiratory problems.

HSE Inspector for Derbyshire Noelle Walker said: “This incident could have been avoided if safe working practices had been put in place.

“Employers must ensure that decommissioning work is properly planned to take account of health and safety risks and that employees and agency workers are made fully aware of the risks associated with hazardous substances to prevent this sort of exposure, which has resulted in potentially long term ill health for these men.”

  1. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states, “ It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety
  2. For further information on risk assessments for hazardous substances visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/index.htm
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