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Sawdust lands joiners in the dock

6 Oct 23 A Norfolk woodworking company has been fined £25,000 for failing to control its employees’ exposure to wood dust.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspection of The Joinery Yard Limited at Sweet Briar Road industrial estate, Norwich in November 2019 found failings in the company’s control measures to protect employees from breathing in wood dust.

Wood dust is a respiratory sensitiser that can cause long term health effects including occupational asthma.

After the first HSE visit, The Joinery Yard was slapped with an enforcement notice.

However, a subsequent inspection in July 2022 showed that the company had failed to maintain standards and enforcement action was taken again. This inspection identified failings in the company’s control measures and found that it had failed to take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of workers exposed to wood dust.

At a hearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court this week (4th October) The Joinery Yard Ltd of Aylsham Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Section 2 (1). It was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,681.77.

HSE inspector Natalie Prince said after the hearing: “The fine imposed on The Joinery Yard Limited should underline to everyone in the woodworking industry that the courts, and HSE, take a failure to follow the regulations extremely seriously.

“Wood dust can cause serious health problems and all businesses need to protect their workers’ respiratory health. We will not hesitate to take action against companies which do not do all that they should to keep people safe.”

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