90 workers exposed to lead for year
Posted Fri, 27 Apr 2012
Exposing workers to significant amounts of lead has left a recycling company around £75,000 out of pocket.
Metal And Waste Recycling, based in Edmonton, east London, had bought copper cabling sheathed with lead from British Telecom. An inspection by health and safety officials in April 2009 was prompted by a complaint from one of the workers tasked with stripping the material, who said employees were not given enough protection from the poisonous substance.
Inspectors found that the firm had done nothing to reduce the level of lead exposure to the workers. They also discovered Metal And Waste Recycling had failed to adequately ventilate the work space and did not provide any face masks or other respiratory equipment for those working on the job.
And although the 90 workers - most of whom were from Romania - were given gloves by their employer, they had to wear their own clothes, creating the risk of them spreading lead fragments to other people.
The company, of Albert Works in Kenninghall Road, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with breaking the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002. It admitted carrying out the offence for almost a year, between 1 November 2008 and 1 October 2009. Magistrates fined Metal And Waste Recycling £49,500 and told it to pay £25,483 in court costs.
Copyright Press Association 2012