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Worker exposed to high level of carbon monoxide

Date:
20 January 2017

A Construction firm was sentenced today for safety breaches after workers were exposed to carbon monoxide and other substances hazardous to health.

Hull Magistrates Court heard how in October 2015 the workers were using a petrol powered saw to cut out an existing concrete floor at a fish factory in Hull. In order to protect the food factory surfaces from dust they constructed a sealed enclosure from timber and polythene. The workers were inside the area working over a weekend, the space was not ventilated and there was a build-up of carbon monoxide, which lead to one worker being hospitalized.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the company had not planned the work or thought through the dangers an un-ventilated tent would cause. The company should have used a system of dust suppression and local exhaust ventilation (LEV) together with appropriate respiratory protective equipment to prevent or reduce exposure to harmful dust.

Westlands Construction Ltd, Sproatley, Hull pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £16,000 with £847.30 costs by Hull Magistrates Court.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Jennifer Elsegood commented: “Petrol driven saws should not be used in a confined space because of the risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous it has no smell and workers can be overcome by the fumes before they realise they have been effected – making it extremely dangerous. This is why it is known as the silent killer.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. hse.gov.uk[1]
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk/ [2]
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk[3]
  4. Please see the link below to HSE’s guide to doing it the right way:

www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/hazardous-substances/carbon-monoxide

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