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Mon August 03 2020

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Public humiliation for incompetent health & safety consultant

10 Jul An independent health & safety consultant has been fined £1,400 for giving rubbish advice to clients.

It turns out that veteran health & safety ‘expert’ Clive Weal got it wrong on hand arm vibration, work place noise and the control of substances hazardous to health, jeopardising the well-being of clients’ employees.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that the self-employed consultant incorrectly identified risk from exposure to hand arm vibration as ‘low’ and advised clients to use ‘anti vibration gloves’ as an appropriate control measure.

He also failed to identify that paints containing isocyanates can cause asthma.

HSE said that the poor and incompetent advice resulted in a lack of remedial action being implemented to prevent employees being exposed to levels of noise, hand arm vibration and chemical substances that may have a damaging impact on their health.

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Clive Weal of Torksey, Lincolnshire, was found to be incompetent at advising his clients in the assessment and control of risks from workplace noise, hand arm vibration and substances hazardous to health. He pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £1,400.

HSE specialist inspector Parmjit Gahir said after the hearing: “Employers are more likely to use external consultants to provide assistance in complex situations where a higher level of competence is required.

“How consultants achieve competence is up to them. However, they will have to be able to satisfy employers that they have a sufficient level of competence for the job in hand.

“Being a member of a relevant professional body, which sets competence standards for its members and operates continuing professional development schemes is one way of helping; as is presenting evidence of relevant experience such as references from previous clients; or obtaining qualifications.”

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