Director of masonry firm Redmist International given suspended prison sentence for exposing workers to stone dust
The director of a West London masonry firm has been handed a suspended prison sentence and a fine for exposing workers to harmful stone dust and ignoring notices to improve extraction ventilation.
Employees at Redmist International Ltd, on Standard Road, Park Royal, were placed at unnecessary risk of inhaling dust, which can cause long-term health problems, for a period of six months between January and June 2013 according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Director of the company Ghausal Islam, 52, of Willesden Green, were sentenced last week (17 July) after an investigation by the HSE identified serious concerns.
Southwark Crown Court heard that stone dust was commonplace at Redmist through regular polishing and grinding work. If inhaled it can cause occupational asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), silicosis or even lung cancer, so it is vital that adequate measures are in place to limit exposure, according to the HSE.
However, an inspection by officers on 24 January 2013 revealed that an extraction ventilation system in the factory was inadequate and hadn’t been properly tested to ensure it was fit for purpose.
Two Improvement Notices were served requiring urgent changes, but follow-up visits on June 5 and 13 established that nothing had changed, and that employees were still facing potentially harmful exposure.
The court was told that Mr Islam had a legal duty to protect his workforce and that he and the company had seemingly ignored HSE’s intervention.
The director, of Staverton Road, NW2, was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, and was also ordered to pay £9,000 in costs for breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Redmist Internatonal Ltd, of Standard Road, Park Royal, escaped penalty for separate breaches of the same legislation because it is no longer trading and is the subject of a winding up order.
After the hearing HSE inspector Saif Deen said: “Stone dust can be incredibly harmful and exposure, even over a relatively short period, can have devastating consequences.
“It is therefore vital that companies involved in processes that generate airborne dust have effective systems in place to extract harmful particles, and provide adequate personal protective equipment for their employees.
“That didn’t happen at Redmist International and the company, under the lead of Ghausul Islam, displayed a poor performance over the period of our investigation. The clear concerns we identified were blatantly ignored and HSE will not hesitate to prosecute when worker safety is compromised in this way.â€?