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Lead Poisoning Dangers Highlighted By Recycling Firm’s Fine

Industrial Disease Expert Comments On Case


The dangers of failing to protect workers from the threat of lead poisoning have been highlighted after a recycling company in Edmonton was fined over several cases of exposure.

Metal and Waste Recycling Ltd was fined £49,500 and ordered to pay costs in relation to the incidents between October 2008 and 2009, when it was revealed that more than 90 workers had been exposed to lead during work to strip lead-sheathed copper cabling.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive visited the site following a complaint by a worker over a lack of protection, with the assessments revealing that little had been done to reduce exposure or provide respiratory equipment to those involved.

Workers also wore their own clothes, increasing the chances of lead being spread to other people, while the company also did not carry out legally required blood tests. Tests by a HSE doctor revealed six workers had lead poisoning symptoms and were referred to hospital.

Mark Allen, an associate director at Irwin Mitchell, specialises in helping industrial disease victims including those suffering from lead poisoning gain justice over safety failings by their employers.

Commenting on this fine, he said: “We have acted in numerous cases which have shown the shocking impact that lead poisoning can have on victims, often leaving them with long-term health problems which can impact significant on their lives.

“It is absolutely fundamental that employers involved in work related to lead ensure they always make protective equipment and guidance available to their staff, in order to prevent them facing any exposure-related issues.

“This case shows there are still businesses which are simply failing to recognise the threat, so we hope that significant lessons can be learned with a view to ensuring health and safety is a top priority for all firms.”