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Metal and Waste Recycling Ltd fined £49,500 for employee lead exposure

From October 2008-July 2009, 90 workers had been exposed to high levels of lead while being involved in cable stripping work for Metal and Waste…

From October 2008-July 2009, 90 workers had been exposed to high levels of lead while being involved in cable stripping work for Metal and Waste Recycling Ltd. The HSE paid a visit to the company’s London premises after one of the company’s employees expressed his concern to the HSE regarding his working conditions. 

HSE inspectors concluded that there was poor ventilation on the site and a lack of protective gear such as facemasks and other respiratory equipment. The workers were not told what to do or how to protect themselves; most of the workers wore their own clothes and were permitted to eat on site therefore increasing their chances of ingesting lead.

Furthermore, the company had failed to provide health checks, including blood testing, to their employees; a practice which is obligatory when working with lead. The HSE appointed a doctor whose results concluded that 23 workers had significant levels of lead in their blood, six workers had blood poisoning and two workers had to undergo therapy to remove the lead from their bloodstream.   

Metal and Waste Recycling Ltd was fined £49,500 plus £25,483 in costs for breaching Regulations 3, 6, 7, and 10 of the Control of Lead at Work Regulations.