A Hampshire-based hygiene consultancy firm has been fined £2,000 after its failures put workers at risk of exposure to hazardous substances.
Envirochem Analytical Laboratories Limited provided an occupational hygiene consultancy service to customers across the South of England. The reports provided by Envirochem are used by their customers to make decisions regarding necessary controls to protect their workforce from risks to their health from substances including hazardous chemicals and dusts. However, they provided one customer with a deficient occupational hygiene exposure monitoring report.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the report to be inadequate and did not provide the information necessary regarding the extent of exposure to hazardous substances, including isocyanates from paint spraying, a potent respiratory sensitiser. The report used inappropriate occupational hygiene monitoring and analysis methods and consequently under-reported the actual exposures at the customers premises.
Portsmouth Magistrates Court heard the services the company provided included the provision of reports, following testing carried out by their consultants at customer premises.
Envirochem Analytical Laboratories Limited, of The Gardens, Broadcut, Fareham, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £6,583 in costs at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on 23 May 2023.
HSE inspector Nicola Pinckney said: “This was a case of the company failing to provide the specialist services which its customer expected. Consultancies providing specialist services have a responsibility to ensure they are competent to undertake this type of work, undertake the work to the correct standards and provide accurate reports. They need to provide the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to their employees undertaking this work to enable them to provide this specialist service.
“I would urge those wanting to appoint occupational hygiene specialists to check with the relevant professional body, such as the British Occupational Hygiene Society, as to whether those offering consultancy services are competent to do so.”