Firm fined over asthma threat to staff
A SOUTH Tyneside firm has been slapped with a near-£10,000 bill for putting workers at risk by exposing them to hazardous fumes.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Variable Message Signs, based at Monkton Business Park, Hebburn, was using a type of solder flux that can cause occupational asthma.
An inspection in November 2009, discovered that 12 of the 80-strong workforce could work for four hours a day with no extraction system in place, despite already being told that one was needed.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard the company had also failed to switch to an alternative, less-hazardous solder, or monitor its staff for any ill-effects from using the rosin-based solder.
After pleading guilty to three breaches of Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Act 2002, the firm, set up in 2003, was fined £5,500 and ordered to pay £4,291.25 in costs.
Magistrates were told the company – which makes and repairs electronic road signs – had now switched to a different solder and installed extraction equipment.