Manufacturing company fined for health and safety failures

A manufacturing company based in South Shields has been fined for health and safety failures.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how Templetown Canopies Limited use styrene in their production of fibre glass door and window canopies. This substance is hazardous to health and exposure can cause irritation to the nose, throat and lungs. It can also have a neurological effect including difficulty in concentrating, drowsiness, headaches and nausea.

An inspection was carried out on 1 May 2013 and an improvement notice was served on 3 May 2013. The company did not take action to comply with the Improvement Notice until they moved premises in March 2015.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that between May 2013 and February 2015, Templetown Canopies did not adequately control exposure of their employees to styrene. The company should have had an extraction system to remove the fume and provided masks with the correct filters to prevent operators breathing it in.

Templetown Canopies Limited, of Shaftsbury Avenue, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) and was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay costs of £4,500.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Fiona McGarry said:

“ Workers’ health was put at risk from exposure to styrene for a period of 22 months, even after the company had been made aware of the actions it needed to take.

“Whilst HSE is sympathetic to the pressures faced by small businesses, this is simply not acceptable. Employers need to take action to ensure they are providing adequate control to protect the health of their employees.”.