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A recycling company has been fined £160,000 for endangering its employees through exposure to wood dust.

Esken Renewables Limited, based in Middlesbrough, was found by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to have failed in designing processes to minimise the spread of wood dust.

According to the HSE, inhaling wood dust can lead to asthma and nasal cancer.

The company admitted to breaching regulations related to the control of hazardous substances at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

An HSE inspector visited the Port Clarence Road site in April 2022 after concerns were raised about the spread of wood dust to the surrounding area.

Esken Renewables claimed the exposure was due to four storms, a factor acknowledged by the HSE.

However, the investigation revealed that the company’s measures to control wood dust and protect employees were inadequate and did not meet the expected standards.

“The company failed to design and operate processes and activities to minimise the emission, release, and spread of wood dust,” stated the HSE.

Breathing in wood dust can cause asthma and nasal cancer, warned the HSE.

Esken Renewables Limited pleaded guilty to violating a regulation concerning the control of substances hazardous to health.

The company was fined £160,000, ordered to pay £5,310.35 in costs, and given a £190 victim surcharge.

Esken Renewables emphasised that employee wellbeing is a “top priority.”

A spokesperson for the company expressed disappointment in not meeting regulatory requirements and their own high standards of employee care and protection on this occasion.

“We’re constantly revising our policies and procedures to ensure compliance with all regulations and to provide the highest standards of protection for everyone who works for us,” said the spokesperson.

Esken Renewables was acquired by Pioneer Balmoral UK in December 2023. The spokesperson noted that health and safety is one of Pioneer Balmoral’s “core principles.”

Become a member of the BSIF and help to shape the future of the UK Safety Industry.

Traditionally BSIF membership has been seen as being for businesses that Manufacture and Distribute PPE and Safety Products, promoting the necessity of compliant, certified and up to task products and informing the market of the importance of purchasing from reliable, educated and trustworthy sources, that’s what BSIF members are.

Whilst this remains at the forefront of BSIF’s ethos, evolution is coming! BSIF are delighted to announce a membership expansion pilot to embrace employers, duty holders and safety professionals. The opportunity to join the BSIF comes with a multitude of benefits, not just for those who become members, but for the industry as a whole, a direct link between suppliers and buyers all under the same collaborative Federation.

BSIF see the future of the Safety Industry as one that allows suppliers to work with employers, duty holders and safety professionals to enhance the standard of protection for the UK workforce.

The BSIF Pilot scheme has been designed to shape how this relationship will work, the early entrants to the new type of membership will have a unique opportunity to influence the direction of travel for the BSIF and help in the creation of an all-encompassing Federation. So, what does the pilot scheme offer to new and potential members, in this expanded approach?

  • Access to a manned, independent PPE information help line
  • Independent guidance & information on Standards & PPE Regulations
  • The opportunity to receive PPE and Safety industry updates via internal BSIF Bulletins
  • Access to a wide range of informative BSIF white papers, information and knowledge on a password protected Website
  • Access and participation in regional PPE/Safety Equipment development workshops, forums and user groups
  • The opportunity to develop new campaigns/white papers and update existing campaigns
  • Access and discount on BSIF training courses such as “Sourcing Safety”
  • Access to Networking events. Engage with all members from the supply chain and other HSEQ managers/duty holders at multiple events each year.
  • The opportunity to be nominated to the British Standards Institute (BSi) national product standards committees.

The pilot scheme will launch on the 27th June 2024 and run for 12 months with the idea to officially launch the new membership thereafter.  BSIF are now actively recruiting stakeholders from the safety industry to join in this opportunity.

So, are you an employer, duty holder or safety professional that wants to be a part of something seen as groundbreaking? Can your input help to shape the future of the UK Safety Industry? Do you want to be at the forefront of this new initiative in safety and health? If so, contact us today to express your interest in the BSIF Membership Pilot Scheme.

Contact BSIF by emailing or by calling us on 01442 248744.

BSIF, The Trade Association for the Safety Industry.

A Surrey farming partnership faced a fine and costs totalling nearly £41,000 following a “easily avoidable” health and safety breach that resulted in a young farmworker sustaining serious injuries.

Christopher Rolfe, employed by F Conisbee and Sons Ltd in East Horsley, was crushed by hay bales, causing fractures to his pelvis, ankle, and four ribs. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the bales had been stacked incorrectly on an unsuitable surface.

During a magistrates hearing in Staines, Middlesex, on 15 May, it was disclosed that the bales were placed on pallets to elevate them from a damp floor. When Mr. Rolfe removed the pallets, five bales collapsed, trapping him underneath.

Emergency services were alerted by a passing dog walker who heard Mr. Rolfe’s cries for help. He was airlifted to the hospital for emergency surgery and underwent months of rehabilitation before returning to work in farming.

F Conisbee and Sons admitted to breaching Regulation 10(4) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £36,000, in addition to being ordered to pay £4,986 in costs.

The HSE highlighted that the bales were improperly secured, unevenly stacked, and susceptible to water damage. The company also failed to establish safe procedures for unstacking bales, neglecting to keep the stack stable as bales were removed.

HSE inspector Sally Parkes emphasised that the accident could have been prevented if the farm had followed proper stacking guidelines. She stressed the importance of having knowledgeable oversight during the stacking process and adhering to industry safety protocols.

Matt Higham (image courtesy of LinkedIn)

The Women in Plant (WiP) group, part of the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA), has partnered with Leo Workwear, a leading supplier of high-visibility workwear, to promote suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing tailored for women in the plant industry.

Encountering challenges in sourcing safety and high-visibility clothing that fits well and ensures safety on worksites, the WiP group approached Leo Workwear for assistance. Leo Workwear, known for its expertise in designing and producing high-visibility female workwear, responded by offering a range of items bearing the Women in Plant group logo. SPOA is facilitating the distribution of these clothing items to women associated with the Association, ahead of ScotPlant, where the full range was showcased. The complete Leo Workwear range is available for order through Highland Industrial Supplies, offering an exclusive WiP discount; interested parties can inquire via email at

Developed by an all-female team based on years of feedback and wearer trials, the clothing range includes trousers, base layers, and vests, ensuring safety for all workers regardless of gender, size, or religion. Specialised items for pregnant women and those experiencing menopause, as well as modesty tunics designed with safety considerations for specific religious practices, are also available.

Matt Higham, national account manager at Leo Workwear, emphasised the importance of providing appropriate safety equipment for all workers, regardless of gender. He highlighted the company’s commitment to developing clothing that fits well, is comfortable, functional, and contributes to workplace safety.

The clothing is made using recycled materials, aligning with sustainability goals and resulting in a 50% reduction in carbon emissions. Leo Workwear has addressed various challenges faced by women in the industry, including the need for functional movement, varied leg lengths, and adequate pocket sizes. Regulatory standards for high-visibility clothing are also met, with options available to ensure compliance, even in smaller sizes.

Zaya McMillan-Grant from SPOA’s Women in Plant group expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, highlighting the importance of recognising the diverse needs of workers in the industry. She hopes that the initiative will encourage employers to reassess the PPE and clothing provided to female employees, prioritising safety for all workers.

The women’s range of Leo Workwear PPE and clothing will be showcased at Highland Industrial Supplies open days in Inverness on the 6th and 7th of June.

Technology designed for occupational and environmental monitoring

Whilst we were at the H&S Show 2024 we also met up with Tim Turney, Global Marketing Manager at Casella. Tim showcased the professional noise, air sampling and vibration monitoring equipment that Casella offers to keep people safe at work.

As you can imagine, with the vast range that Casella can offer the market there was a lot of information to take in – luckily Tim had a solution which was their new “Virtual Product Tour”

Joined by parent company TSI for the first time, Tim explained the advanced product range that Casella can now offer to customers that include face fit testing products that were crucial during the pandemic.

As the world becomes louder and more polluted Casella’s advanced monitoring equipment provides businesses with the peace of mind that their employees are safe. Casella also recently released the Interactive Tour software that simulates a real-world noise monitoring situation in a working environment that allows professionals to learn how to use the tools remotely and accessibly.

Casella is dedicated to reducing occupational and environmental health risks through effective monitoring solutions. Casella prides itself on providing precision instrumentation since 1799, supplying eminent figures including David Livingstone and Charles Darwin with instrumentation for exploration and scientific work.

Casella offers smart and easy to use solutions for monitoring noise, dust and vibration.  Our continuing innovation and training support ensure the next generation have the latest technology and expertise to aid health risk measurement. 

To find out more about the Casella brand and product offering please get in touch here.

HAIX is a well-known manufacturer of high-quality, functional footwear, primarily for professionals in demanding fields such as firefighting, law enforcement, military, forestry, and rescue services. Founded in 1948 in Mainburg, Bavaria, by Xaver Haimerl, the company has grown significantly from its roots as a local shoemaker to a global leader in specialized footwear.

The company’s success is built on its commitment to high standards of quality, functionality, and design. HAIX produces its footwear exclusively in Europe, maintaining stringent quality control and leveraging state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Germany and Croatia. This ensures that each pair meets the rigorous demands of their users, from fire departments in New York City to special forces in Europe.

HAIX also focuses on continuous innovation, holding numerous patents and frequently introducing new products that set benchmarks in the industry. Their product range includes boots designed for extreme heat, chemical protection, and other hazards faced by professionals in high-risk jobs

Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager at HAIX represented the company at The Health and Safety Event 2024. Simon presented the company’s commitment to inclusive PPE with the women’s fit range that has proportions designed to comfortably fit women. Offering the same weather and wear resistant characteristics as the male counterparts, the new range remedies an industry challenge by bringing comfortability and utility to women professionals that would previously have to wear unsuitable footwear.

Find out more about HAIX  here

About HSE People

HSE People is an online network of professionals who work within Health and Safety, the Environment and Sustainability and Risk and Compliance. We provide our members with free resources such as our career portal, events calendar, industry news, access to whitepapers, eBooks and webinars as well as information about products and services. The aim of HSE People is to support those who Protect People, Places and the Planet.

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