A Penarth health and safety expert has warned businesses of the importance of compliance on the back of cases at two Welsh pharmaceutical companies. Jodie Read from Penarth Management appeared on BBC Radio Wales discussing the cases involving firm Archimica Chemicals Limited and its trading partner, Euticals Ltd. Both businesses were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in proceedings covering four separate cases.
In the period of February to July 2012 three individuals were exposed to methyl iodine, which resulted in hospitalisation of all workers. Then in November 2012 three workers were simultaneously exposed to dichloromethane, a substance with narcotic and possible carcinogenic effects that are potentially fatal; all three workers were taken to hospital.
Speaking on BBC Radio Wales’ Saturday morning programme, Jodie Read, Managing Director of Penarth Management Limited said: “Although this was a large site, many of the health and safety failings provide lessons for all businesses from all industry sectors.” Mrs Read continued; ‘‘Every company has a legal and moral obligation to comply with health and safety. Failure to properly manage health and safety can result in people dying; the consequences are that serious. In this particular case, two people were left with life-changing injuries.”
Penarth Management has recently received an award from the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) for a second consecutive year for ‘exceptional services.’ The award helps to position them as experts in the field of health and safety.
Mrs Read also warns of the financial strains of health and safety on a business as well as the risk to workers. “Poor health and safety management invariably costs businesses far more than well managed sites. In this case the fines amounted to £120,000 and the business has gone into liquidation.”
There is free information available on the HSE website which companies can use to help them understand what they should be doing: http://www.hse.gov.uk/, so compliance needn’t be costly.
Some companies may prefer to engage the specialist services of compliance consultants, such as the team at Penarth Management Limited, to assist by conducting a detailed audit to reveal any areas that require action. Within Wales it is sometimes possible to tap into funding to help with the cost of implementing formal management systems, such as OHSAS18001, which provides a structured framework to ensure health and safety is effectively implemented and maintained.
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