Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dye fumes affects worker in silk company

Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company fined over safety breaches

Dying silk comes with the risks of inhaling fumes
and contracting respiratory illness, officials say.
A textile company has been fined £20,000 for "serious safety failings" after a chemical exposure left a worker in Suffolk with breathing problems, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said in a BBC article.

The 57-year-old, who does not wish to be named, was employed as a dye house manager from 1993 to 2012 at the Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company Ltd in Sudbury.

The HSE found the company had failed to assess the risks from "hazardous" dyes and said that workers had "a significant risk of contracting respiratory illnesses."

Gainsborough admitted five breaches of health and safety regulations. It was also ordered to pay £10,000 towards costs over three years.

The man had been suffering from chronic breathing difficulties since 2008 and had been hospitalized a few times as a result.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the man's symptoms had "improved markedly" after he left the company and stopped working with chemicals.

Dangers well known in industry

The HSE told the court the company had failed to assess the health risks arising from working with hazardous reactive dyes, despite the dangers of respiratory damage being well known in the industry.

The court also heard the firm "had failed to provide their staff with adequate training or equipment to safeguard their health when working with the substances".

A health surveillance program for the firm's workforce was stopped in 2004. The program could have helped to prevent the worker's long period of ill health, according to the HSE.

HSE inspector Martin Kneebone said the textile company "should have installed suitable ventilation equipment for weighing and mixing the dyes. They should also have provided proper information, instruction, training and health surveillance for their employees.

"The lack of these left workers at a significant risk of contracting respiratory illnesses by their exposure to these chemicals."

This article has been edited. Source: BBC News

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