TWO construction firms have been fined thousands of pounds after workers inhaled high levels of lead.
Bam Nuttall and Four Tees were sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.
Employees of Four Tees, in Segensworth, Russell Leggett and Robert Peach were exposed to lead paint while working to reduce the height of the Nab Tower off the Isle of Wight in the Solent.
Blood test results revealed that Mr Leggett’s blood contained 110 microgrammes of lead per decilitre while Mr Peach’s contained 97mcg of lead per decilitre. The level at which an employee should be suspended from work is 60mcg per decilitre.
Mr Peach and Mr Leggett spent around five days in hospital but had to have regular treatment weeks after.
Prosecutor Franceca Lewington said there were a number of ways the companies failed to comply with health and safety regulations.
‘Part of the failure in this case was the canteen area being near the working area with no protection,’ she said.
‘There was a failure to isolate contaminated clothing and equipment and the face masks weren’t face-fitted to the employees.’
Ms Lewington added that an email was sent from Bam Nuttall to Four Tees on May 21 last year saying blood tests needed to be done. But work on the interior of the tower started and results weren’t received until July 15.
Defending Bam Nuttall Keith Morton said the company implemented changes immediately after the blood results to protect workers and alerted the Health and Safety executive.
He added: ‘These failings were not from cost-cutting and there was no long-lasting damage to the employees.
‘The problem was not reported by workers or found by any authority.’
Defending Four Tees Christopher Gillespie agreed saying the incident was a slip for the firm which had never breached health regulations before.
Judge Peter Crabtree said that the failures were serious but acknowledged they were not done for cost-cutting or other benefits to the company. He fined Surrey-based Bam Nuttall £56,000 and Four Tees £14,000.