£10,000 Fine For Lead Poisoning

Workplace Illness In Scotland

22.03.2010


A specialist restoration company has been fined £10,000 after two employees contracted lead poisoning at work.

Perth Sheriff Court heard that the workers, employed by Blairish Restorations at the time, became ill after sanding down lead paintwork at Findynate House, Strathtay, over the course of several months.

The company had failed to detect the presence of the poisonous substance and, as a result, offered the pair no protection.

Sentencing the firm, which pleaded guilty to the offences, the sheriff said he had reduced the fine from £15,000 to £10,000 because the company had taken swift action to ensure the same mistake would not happen again.

Speaking after the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Gary Stimpson said: "This case is important as it reminds primary contractors of their responsibility and duty of care to others working on the site - even if they are not directly employed by them.

"Exposure to lead can result in significant and debilitating symptoms such as anaemia, nausea and constipation and even nerve, brain and/or kidney damage."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Mark Allen, a specialist in workplace illnesses from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “'Buried' lead paint (also known as 'Lead-Based Paint' or 'LBP') can be found in millions of UK homes, schools and workplaces, particularly those built before 1970 - more than 70%, or 18.5Million, of the country's building stock.

“This example shows that notwithstanding that it has been many years since lead based paint was last used in the UK it is still a source of danger for many UK workers. The health effects following exposure can be very serious.

“Employers should heed in particular The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 and carry out 'suitable and sufficient' Risk Assessments, provide training and information about lead exposure risks, provide adequate facilities for changing, washing and eating and regular blood screening to monitor lead exposure levels."