Lack of protective equipment at work
A York based company was recently prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive for exposing its employers to uncontrolled levels of crystalline silica dust during dry stone carving, without extraction or the use of protective equipment. The company was fined £30,000 for exposing its workers to the harmful dust which regrettably for the men involved, led to the men developing serious illnesses.
One of the workers has now retired and the other is unable to continue working as a stonemason.
HSE Inspector Julian Franklin said: "Had the company acted on the information they received after a survey in 1994, these men may not now be suffering from serious illnesses
Nicola Handley of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors LLP, who is currently acting for a stonemason also diagnosed with silicosis following exposure to the harmful dust, said that she found it incredible that employers are still exposing their employees to harmful levels of the dust whilst carrying out stonemasonry work. She went on to say “This exposure has occurred despite the fact that it is known to cause significant respiratory problems for workers and damage quality of life. People often talk about health and safety being burdensome to business, but the implications of silicosis for workers can be devastating. My client is now faced with having to deal with his employer’s disregard for his health and safety for the rest of his life.“