An HSE inspection undertaken in December 2010 at Keylighting Ltd, a Keighley based firm uncovered a catalogue of health and safety failings relating to the welfare of the employees. They discovered, amongst other things, toilets in a poor state, blocked sinks, out-of-order cisterns which were still being used, no running water for hand washing and rubbish strewn around the toilet area.
The HSE arranged for an occupational-hygiene inspection to be carried out by a specialist, who found workplace temperatures ranging from 4O°C in the toilets to 10°C in the stores and welding areas, in what was the coldest December for many years. During this time, some employees were found to be working in temperatures only a few degrees higher than they were outside.
All employers are required to provide suitable and sufficient welfare conditions for their employees which relates to basic requirements. These include clean and operational toilets, hot and cold water, drinking water, somewhere to rest and comfortable working temperatures.
At Keylighting Ltd there was no ventilation in the welding area to allow for the removal of fumes and the protective equipment for workers was ineffective. In one of the spray booths an operator was found with powder contamination around his face, neck and hands and a large amount of powder dust had escaped from the booth. Improvement Notices were served on the company in relation to a number of issues. A further inspection, carried out in January 2011 by an electrical specialist, revealed an 8 month old report that highlighted 70 electrical defects. Seven of these were designated ‘Code 1’ and required urgent attention, yet not one had been addressed. Consequently, the HSE served an additional seven Improvement Notices, relating to each of these defects.
Keylighting Ltd appeared at Bradford Magistrates’ Court on 18 July to answer a charge of breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974 between 25 May 2010 and 25 January 2011. The company pleaded guilty and was fined £8000, and ordered to pay £20,000 of the HSE’s full £39,000 costs.
If you need help or advice on the conditions that you are required to maintain for your employees why not consider a health and safety audit which will highlight any contraventions and advise you of what you need to do to comply with the law. Give us a call and see what we can do to help