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PC’s £40k penalty for workers’ RCS exposure

A Hertfordshire-based construction contractor has been prosecuted and fined £40,000 after allowing workers on a refurbishment project to be exposed repeatedly to brick dust. Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is the second biggest construction risk after asbestos.

PC's £40k penalty for workers’ RCS exposure

MY Construction & Carpentry was refurbishing a building in Netherall Gardens in north London when the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out a site inspection on 5 July 2016. Officers found workers in a basement had been dry cutting around 250 bricks to shape the bay window surrounds.

The company’s failure to properly plan and manage the project had created numerous failings on-site, the HSE found. Workers were not informed of the dangers of inhaling RCS, nor were they made aware of the correct controls. MY Construction had also failed to appoint a competent person to supervise the work. In its press release, the HSE added that it had repeatedly warned the firm about the dangers of inhaling silica dust.

MY Construction & Carpentry of High Street, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching reg 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The firm was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £2,313 in costs at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 13 December. 

HSE inspector Prentiss Clarke-Jones said: “Over 500 construction workers are believed to die from exposure to silica dust every year. It is the biggest risk to construction workers after asbestos.”


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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