Plasterboard firm fined £60k for health and safety breaches

Court news
Court news

A Totternhoe-based plasterboard recycling company has been fined £60,000 after health and safety concerns were identified during a routine inspection of their premises.

Luton Magistrates’ Court heard that health and safety standards at Plasterboard Recycling Solutions site at The Old Lime Works, Lower End were generally poor.

During a routine inspection back in September 2015, it was found there were no measures on site to prevent pedestrians from coming into contact with moving vehicles, machinery on site was inadequately guarded and unsupported plasterboard stockpiles were leaning against buildings.

A proactive inspection carried out by two inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Plasterboard Recycling Solutions Ltd had failed to ensure that the buildings on site were safe for workers to use because one of the walls of the process building was bowing and the internal roof trusses were bent and damaged.

It was also found the company failed to adequately control exposure to plasterboard dust which was found to be covering the floors, walls, machinery and ledges of the premises.

Subsequent occupational hygiene surveys carried out after the inspection identified exposures to dust on the premises were up to 20 times the legal limit.

The company pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulations 6(1) and 7(1) of the Control of Substances hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended) and was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,327.60.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Emma Page said: “Employers should be aware of their legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees.

“Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.