John Taylor Bell Foundry (Loughborough) Ltd was sentenced for safety breaches after workers were exposed to harmful lead dust during the repair and refurbishment of church bells at St Peter’s church in Barton-Upon-Humber.
Part of the planned maintenance project on 20 March 2019 involved stripping off rust and old paint from the metal bell frame and fittings. After work had already been underway for some time, the old paint was confirmed to contain lead.
The HSE’s investigation found that the workers who had been stripping the paint had been exposed to harmful lead dust because they had been using power tools (which generate excess levels of dust). The company did not have proper cleaning techniques and personal protective equipment (PPE) in place, the HSE found.
John Taylor Bell Foundry (Loughborough) Ltd of The Bell Foundry Freehold Street Loughborough pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1), of the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002. The company was fined £13,000.00 and ordered to pay £6,469.90 in costs.
After the hearing HSE inspector, Jennifer Elsgood, commented: “The company’s procedures for identifying lead, protecting workers from lead exposure during works and providing information and instructions to workers regarding lead were inadequate and resulted in a real risk to the health of those workers.
“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”
HSE June 2021