Lead Fumes Lead To Prosecution

Lead is a metal used in batteries, as a pigment, an additive in petrol and as a building material.

Lead can be inorganic e.g. in lead/acid batteries and organic e.g. additive in petrol. Inorganic leads can be inhaled as a fume or fine dust.

Organic leads can be inhaled and also absorbed through the skin. John Taylor Bell Foundry (Loughborough) Ltd was sentenced for safety breaches after workers were exposed to harmful lead dust during the repair and refurbishment of church bells at St Peter’s church in Barton-Upon-Humber. Grimsby Magistrates’ Court heard that, part of the planned maintenance project on 20 March 2019 involved stripping off rust and old paint from the
metal bell frame and fittings. After work had already been underway for some time, the old paint was confirmed to contain lead.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the workers who had been stripping the paint had been exposed to harmful lead dust because they had been using power tools (which generate excess levels of dust). The company did not have proper cleaning techniques and personal protective equipment (PPE) in place. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1), of the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002. The company has been fined £13, 333 and ordered to pay £6,469.90 in costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector, Jennifer Elsgood, commented: “The company’s procedures for identifying lead, protecting workers from lead exposure during works and providing information and instructions to workers
regarding lead were inadequate and resulted in a real risk to the health of those workers. “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

Target Organs:

  • Central nervous system
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Blood & blood forming organs
  • Exterior muscles of the wrist or foot
  • Gums

Effects and Symptoms:

  • Acute – inhalation of high concentration of lead fumes or dust leads to nausea, vomiting and headaches often followed by constipation.
  • Chronic Headaches related to adverse effects on brain activity.
  • Anaemia interference by leaded metabolic substance in the synthesis of haemoglobin.

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