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London joinery firm fined £20,000 for failing to control wood dust

A joinery firm in South East London has been fined £20,000 for failing to control its employees’ exposure to wood dust.


F&E Joinery Limited, in Herne Hill, was inspected in May 2022 as part of a HSE campaign targeting woodworking businesses due to the significant health risks associated with exposure to wood dust, including the risk of developing occupational asthma.


During the visit the inspector identified multiple failings related to control of exposure to wood dust, including excessive levels of settled dust around the site. The inspection found some of the company’s machines had been disconnected from the local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system, which is used to extract wood dust at source during machining of wood. There was no way to connect other machines to the system. LEV significantly reduces the amount of wood dust that becomes airborne and inhaled when machined. There was also no evidence that settled wood dust was being cleaned up.


The company had been served with an enforcement notice relating to their control of wood dust on two previous occasions spanning over ten years.


In April 2023, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, F & E Joinery Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (as amended) Regulations 2002 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.


HSE inspector Marcus Pope said: “This case sends out a clear message to the industry that HSE will prosecute when inspectors find serious health and safety failings, particularly when previous enforcement and advice has been provided."


As an employer, you're required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm. Don't risk your safety, or your employees. Ensure you are compliant with Health and Safety law!


If you require Health and Safety Training, or even a consultancy service at your site, don't hesitate to get in contact:

01782 438813

hello@youcandoit.training

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