Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

January 20, 2015

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Royal Mail fined for safety breaches

The Royal Mail has been prosecuted following an incident in January 2014 in which a worker suffered severe chemical burns to his leg while involved in a cleaning task at the company’s Hemel Hempstead site.

It was heard at Watford Magistrates’ Court on 9 January that some cleaning liquid had leaked, causing a concentrated cleaning chemical to spill on to the employee’s leg. The employee received immediate hospital treatment and skin grafts and required eight months off work.

Dacorum Borough Council’s legal department prosecuted the company after an investigation by its environmental health officers found that the company had failed to carry out risk assessments which may have shown that the dispensing pump for the cleaning chemical was defective.

The Royal Mail pleaded guilty to two offences s2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. 1974 and regulation 6(1) of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. The Court awarded fines of £40,000 (£20,000 per offence, and the maximum the Magistrates could order) with costs of nearly £4,000.

Councillor Neil Harden, portfolio holder for Residents and Regulatory Services said: “It is important that all businesses take health and safety seriously and ensure that risks in the workplace are effectively controlled and it was important we took this action given the serious nature of the injuries. We are pleased that Royal Mail has changed its procedures and now operates a safer vehicle cleaning operation.”

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