After failing to adequately control employee’s exposure to respirable silica dust, a stone masonry has been sentenced as the exposure led to an employee developing silicosis. Employees of GO Stonemasonry Limited in Accrington carried out work that resulted in exposure to respirable silica dust, the Burnley Magistrates’ Court heard prior to 2017.
GO Stonemasonry Limited had been working with stone for several years without suitable dust extraction, the HSE found after an investigation. They also found the company had failed to ensure that respiratory protective equipment was controlling the inhalation exposure to silica dust. The company didn’t have systems or control measures in place, appropriate work processes and had no health surveillance to notice any early signs of effects on workers’ health.
After pleading guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974, GO Stonemasonry Limited, of Turkey Red Industrial Estate, Baxenden, Accrington was fined £8000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
Sharon Butler an inspector from HSE commented after the hearing ” Silica is found in most rocks, sand and clay and in products such as bricks and concrete. In the workplace these materials create dust when they are cut, sanded or carved. Some of this dust may be fine enough to breathe deeply into your lungs and is known as respirable crystalline silica. Exposure to this dust can cause silicosis, leading to impaired lung function, breathing problems and is life threatening.
”Simple steps to stop workers breathing in the dust must be taken and companies should know that HSE will not hesitate to take action against those failing to protect their workers’ health.”