A Perthshire construction company was prosecuted yesterday after two workers were admitted to hospital with what the Health and Safety Executive described as “acute” lead poisoning.
Blairish Restorations of Aberfeldy pleaded guilty to offences under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 at Perth Sheriff Court.
The company failed to identify that lead paint was present during a renovation project at Findynate House, Findynate Estate, Strathtay and failed to ensure suitable precautions were taken whilst the old paintwork was sanded down and removed.
Workers inhaled and ingested lead dust over several months during the summer of 2008. The dust was also spread to workers' homes, potentially endangering workers' families, from the workers' overalls.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspector, Gary Stimpson, commented: "This case is important as it reminds primary contractors of their responsibility and duty of care to others working on the site - even if they are not directly employed by them.
"Exposure to Lead can result in significant and debilitating symptoms such as anaemia, nausea and constipation and even nerve, brain and/or kidney damage.
"There may be a view that lead is an historic problem, which was dealt with a long time ago. This prosecution shows that this is not the case. Those involved in renovating old buildings need to be particularly vigilant. Once dust or fume is generated from operations such as sanding, paint burning it easily enters the body through normal breathing or swallowing, where it accumulates causing debilitating symptoms."