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  • Writer's pictureRichard Nichols

Woodworking Firm Fined £25,000 for Neglecting Employee Health and Safety Amid Wood Dust Exposure

wood shavings

A Norfolk woodworking company has incurred a fine of £25,000 due to its negligence in safeguarding the health and safety of its employees in relation to wood dust exposure.

In November 2019, an inspection conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at The Joinery Yard Limited, revealed deficiencies in the company's safety measures to prevent the exposure of its workforce to wood dust. This failure to protect the employees from wood dust, a known respiratory sensitiser that can lead to severe long-term health issues, including occupational asthma, prompted enforcement action.

A subsequent inspection in July 2022 revealed that the company had not rectified these issues, resulting in further enforcement action. This inspection uncovered persistent shortcomings in the control measures, highlighting the company's failure to take adequate precautions to ensure the safety of workers exposed to wood dust.

The Joinery Yard Ltd, situated on Aylsham Road in Norwich, Norfolk, admitted guilt in breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. As a consequence, they were fined £25,000 and directed to cover costs amounting to £2,681.77.

wood saw and dust

This case underscores the imperative need for strict adherence to COSHH regulations within all industry sectors. COSHH regulations are not mere formalities but are meticulously designed to prioritize the health and safety of workers. In this instance, the company's neglect of these regulations not only resulted in a substantial financial penalty but also placed its employees at serious risk of wood dust-related health issues. The consequences of non-compliance extend beyond fines and legal actions; they encompass the well-being of individuals in the workplace. Workers deserve a safe and healthy environment, and COSHH regulations are a fundamental aspect of ensuring just that.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Natalie Prince stressed the significance of the fine imposed on The Joinery Yard Limited within the context of the woodworking industry. Natalie said that “The fine imposed on The Joinery Yard Limited should underline to everyone in the woodworking industry that the courts, and HSE, take a failure to follow the regulations extremely seriously. Wood dust can cause serious health problems and all businesses need to protect their workers’ respiratory health. We will not hesitate to take action against companies which do not do all that they should to keep people safe.”

In conclusion, this case serves as a powerful reminder of the critical importance of adhering to COSHH regulations across all sectors of work. COSHH regulations are specifically crafted to safeguard workers from exposure to hazardous substances, such as wood dust, mitigating the associated health risks. At Base Solutions, we fully appreciate the significance of prioritizing health and safety in the workplace. That's why we are committed to providing comprehensive online courses, including a COSHH course, designed to equip employees and employers with the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure a safe and compliant working environment. For further information or inquiries, please don't hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team, or click the button below.


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