A bakery company has been fined for safety breaches after employees suffered long term exposure to flour dust.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that between April 2002 and April 2016 employees were consistently exposed to risks to their health, with some being medically diagnosed as suffering from occupational asthma.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Coopland & Son (Scarborough) Ltd, had no effective method of control to prevent the dust becoming airborne and employees being exposed to breathing in the dust.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £159,080 and ordered to pay £4,594 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher commented: “Exposure to flour dust in an industrial setting can cause serious and debilitating health effects.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
The most commonly cited causes of occupational asthma are isocyanates (chemicals widely used in manufacturing), followed by flour. One in 10 cases of asthma occurring in adults is caused by work-related factors. The symptoms include breathing difficulties, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing.
As well as having distressing and uncomfortable symptoms, occupational asthma could be severe enough to cause employees to miss work for prolonged periods and have a negative impact on social, domestic life, hobbies and sports.
If your employer has not implemented proper prevention and control systems in relation to substances that can cause occupational asthma and you become unwell as a result, then we would recommend that you seek legal advice.
Work Claims Bureau can start to put you on the right track to deal with any changes a work-related injury or illness brings. For a free consultation, call our specialist team today on 08082565184 or use our contact form.