Furniture maker fined for dust exposure
A furniture manufacturer based in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, has been fined after it left employees exposed to hardwood dust, a substance know to cause occupational asthma and nasal cancer.
An extraction fan in the workshop was discovered to be faulty when it was tested during an HSE inspection in 2016, and despite previous advice given by the HSE, the company was failing to ensure proper safety standards.
On 2 May, Adrena Furniture Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 7(1) and 9(2)(a) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 at Luton Magistrates’ Court and was fined £8,000.
HSE Inspector Sandra Dias said:
“Andrena Furniture Ltd was fully aware of the health and safety standards it needed to maintain. Breathing in dust can cause life-changing lung disease or make existing conditions worse. Thousands of people die from work-related lung diseases every year, often due to continued exposure over a long period of time.
“Everyone has the right to go home healthy from work and employers must do the right thing to protect their workers and ensure this happens.
“This case should serve as a warning to others that HSE takes seriously repeated breaches of health and safety law that exposes employees to health risks.”
Occupational Asthma is a common work-related condition among woodworkers due to wood dust particles in the air along with fumes from lacquer. These fumes not only cause difficulty to your breathing but have also been linked to kidney failure, nervous system damage and loss of vision.
It is possible to make a claim for a breathing problem that has been made worse by fumes that have been inhaled during working hours. Visiting your GP is the best way to establish what has caused your breathing condition or what has made a pre-existing condition worse but we would also advise you inform your employer so they can take measures to assist you and prevent further exposure.
Roberts Jackson Solicitors are on hand to provide FREE legal advice ranging from – running a No Win No Fee claim to assistance with state benefits that may be owed to you.
• Mild Asthma, Breathing Issues Up to £3,400
• Relatively Mild Symptoms £7,000 to £12,000
• Bronchitis and Wheezing £12,000 to £17,000
• Chronic Asthma £17,000 to £28,000
• Severe Disabling Asthma £28,000 to £43,000*
*All compensation amounts based on the Judicial College guidelines (formerly the Judicial Studies Board guidelines)