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Cambridgeshire stonemasonry business fined after poor practice spotted on BBC television programme

26-10-2011

A Cambridgeshire stonemasonry business has been fined over dangerous stone dust after the firm appeared on a BBC television programme.

Atelier 109 Limited, of Main Road, Etton, near Peterborough, featured in March 2010 in the BBC2 series, Mastercrafts, presented by Monty Don - but an eagle-eyed viewer contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to express concern over what he saw: inadequate precautions to protect workers from dust that can cause serious lung diseases.

HSE inspectors visited the company's workshop in May 2010 and served an Improvement Notice compelling Atelier to take action immediately to cut exposure to stonemasonry dust to within the legal limit.

When a further check was made, it was clear that, although improvements had been made, the ventilation system still had not been thoroughly examined and tested, so a second Improvement Notice was served on 12 February 2011.

When HSE inspectors visited the premises for a third time on 16 June this year they found that the action recommended had not been carried out, despite earlier tests revealing that dust levels for employees were between 100% and 300% of safe levels.

Atelier Limited pleaded guilty at Peterborough Magistrates' Court to one charge of breaching section 33 (1) (g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,400.10.

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