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Chemicals manufacturer fined £224k after workers’ long-term skin damage

A manufacturer of chemicals for use in the crop protection, pharmaceutical and speciality chemicals markets has been fined £224,000 after workers were exposed to chemicals harmful to health and sustained long-term skin damage.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court was told that employees who worked with chemicals at Fine Organics’ plant at Seal Sands, Middlesbrough were regularly exposed to the hazardous substances between October 2013 and December 2016. The exposure, which can cause sensitisation of the skin, had resulted in workers developing rashes. In some cases, they were unable to continue working at the Teesside site.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Fine Organics had demonstrated multiple failings in its handling of hazardous substances. The manufacturer had failed to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. It also failed to prevent the release of the harmful chemicals, did not prevent the spread of contamination and failed to properly decontaminate. Fine Organics also failed to put in place an effective system of health surveillance.

Fine Organics pleaded guilty to breaching 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It must also pay £17,098 costs


Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton was previously acting editor of IOSH Magazine. Before that he was editor of SHP and he has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner

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