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April 24, 2012

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Recycling firm “fell far short” on lead-poisoning protection

A recycling company has admitted exposing more than 90 workers to dangerous levels of lead during a project to recycle  telecoms cables at its facility in London.

Metal and Waste Recycling Ltd was contracted by British Telecom (BT) to strip lead-sheathed copper cabling as part of the network’s project to replace its telecoms wires with fibre-optic cables. The recycling firm was carrying out the work at its headquarters at Albert Works, in Edmonton.

The HSE received a complaint from one of Metal and Waste Recycling’s employees, who was concerned that the firm was not adequately protecting workers from exposure to lead.

Inspectors visited the site in April 2009, and found that nothing had been done to reduce lead exposure since the work started in October 2008. There was inadequate ventilation and the company had failed to provide suitable facemasks or respiratory equipment.

HSE inspector Chris Tilley explained that workers wore their own clothes to work, which potentially led to other people being contaminated. The company also failed to carry out blood tests or health checks on workers to test for symptoms of lead poisoning.€

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12 years ago

A story difficult to gauge, given the stringency of the CLAW regulations, the complexity of monitoring and the lower frequency of exposure in modern Britain – and here, where the ‘symptoms’ of lead poisoning are neither described or defined.
Mostly; 15 microgrammes/100 ml is considered the safe blood-lead limit. 30~ would require medical monitoring. Ingested from air, an increase of 10~ would equate to about 3 mg/1000CM – so systemic aggregation is easy to perceive but hard to prevent. RPE!!!

12 years ago

Albert Works N18 2PD – Is this the same firm?

The company was the proud recipient of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2005 and has gone on to win The Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2010

The same firm was nicked by the Environment Agency in 2011?

I bet Mr Cameron is a fan of such enterprise stalwarts? Astounded!

12 years ago

Environmental prosecution for the same firm.

Metal & Waste Recycling Limited was fined £75,000 for each offence, ordered to pay £41,247 in legal costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

They sound like complete bandits.

The sort of free enterprise that our government believes are over burdend by legilative red tape.

12 years ago

Amazing, 200k (2 offences) for operating without a permit (brought about by a noise complaint), yet exposing employees to lead particle inhalation warrants >2k per employee?

Still, I supose the Knighthood is now a non-starter?

Again the use of mitigation is baffling? why is an admission of failure deemed to be mitigating?