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Recycler exposed workers to 20X dust limit

A plasterboard collection and recycling company has been sentenced after employees were exposed to dust up to 20 times the legal limit at its site in Bedfordshire.

Recycler exposed workers to 20X dust limit
©iStock/Francesco Scatena

A routine inspection of the premises, carried out by two Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors in September 2015, found a catalogue of safety failures.

Luton Magistrates’ Court was told that Plasterboard Recycling Solutions had failed to control exposure to plasterboard dust, which had coated floors, walls, ledges and machinery at the site. A follow-up occupational hygiene survey found the concentration of dust exceeded workplace exposure limits.  

The HSE said the company had not segregated pedestrian workers from moving vehicles and plant, had failed to guard machinery adequately and had left unsupported plasterboard stockpiles leaning against buildings. 

The buildings themselves were also found to be unsafe: one of the walls was bowing and internal roof trusses were damaged and bent. 

Plasterboard Recycling Solutions pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and regs 6(1) and 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. 

It was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,330.

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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