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News & Updates

South Yorkshire businesses targeted for health and safety inspections

HSE is set to clamp down on businesses in Sheffield and Rotherham after a sharp increase in the number of serious and fatal incidents noted by its inspectors within the last five years.

Inspection teams will primarily focus on conducting inspections on businesses where workers regularly undertake welding and use metalworking fluids, a high proportion of which are based in the area.

There were 12 worker deaths reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – under the “RIDDOR” regulations – in Sheffield and Rotherham between 2014 and 2021

Workplace exposure monitoring

In 2020 around 12,000 people in the UK died from lung diseases likely to be linked to past exposure from work. There is scientific evidence to suggest that exposure to welding fumes can cause lung cancer and exposure to metalworking fluids can cause a range of lung diseases.

  • 22 inspectors dispatched to carry out inspections in Sheffield and Rotherham.
  • 12 fatalities and 594 serious injuries reported in five years.
  • HSE will take enforcement action if it identifies areas of concern.
  • 12,000 UK workers died from occupational lung diseases in 2020

This initiative will ensure that inspectors are able to visit sites and speak with duty holders to ensure the appropriate controls are in place to protect their workers’ health and safety, particularly in relation to the risks from occupational lung disease.

From this week, January 2022, 22 inspectors from HSE’s Yorkshire and North East field operations teams will visit more than 70 local businesses, identified by HSE’s targeting and intelligence team as operating in a high risk sector or performing poorly. The businesses span a wide range of sectors including metal fabrication, engineering, general manufacturing, waste and recycling.

Andrew Denison, Acting Head of Operations said: “It is estimated that each year 12,000 workers die in Britain from occupational lung disease and 17,000 new cases report suffering work-related breathing and lung problems. This part of South Yorkshire has a fine tradition in metal fabrication and manufacturing; we just need to ensure that the innovation continues to extend to safe working practice.”

SK Compliance can also assist with Occupational Health Surveillance and Workplace Exposure Monitoring, which we highly recommend. For more information or a free no obligation quote, call 01427 402 404 or email compliance@skaltd.co.uk

What to expect from a potential visit

During the visits the companies will need to demonstrate that they have measures in place to manage risks to protect the health and wellbeing of their workers, including health conditions such as occupational lung disease.

If an HSE inspector identifies any other areas of concern during an inspection, they will take the necessary enforcement action which in some cases may lead to an Enforcement Notice being served or, in the case of serious breaches, a prosecution.

We are here to help – if you have any concerns about a possible inspection, simply contact your designated advisor, or call our Health & Safety team on 01427 420 402 or email healthandsafety@skaltd.co.uk