£12k fine for ignoring improvement notices

A Lincolnshire metal fabrication company has been fined for not complying with three HSE improvement notices.

In December 2018, W S Barrett & Son Limited was issued with three improvement notices relating to testing wood dust and powder coating local exhaust ventilation (LEV), and providing LEV for welding fume extraction on its site in Boston, Lincolnshire.

Improvement notices are legal documents requiring improvements to be made by a specified date. WS Barrett & Son Limited failed to comply with all three notices by the completion date.

The HSE’s investigation found that the company was first advised of the problem in February 2018 but did not act following receipt of a Notification of Contravention letter. A further visit by the HSE in December 2018 found the company had still not made the necessary improvements. A subsequent follow up visit in April 2019 showed they still had not done the work to meet the improvement notices.

Earlier this year, SHP reported that mild steel welding fume had been reclassified as a human carcinogen.

W S Barrett & Son Limited of Marsh Lane, Boston pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33(1) (g) of the Health and Safety At work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,740.40.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Martin Giles said: “The failure to comply with an improvement notice is a serious offence. If you receive a notice, you should ensure you take appropriate action to correct the health and safety problems and breaches that are identified in the notice.”