A County Durham manufacturing business has been fined £15,000 by watchdogs after it exposed its workers to wood dust and failed to comply with improvement notices.

Billy Davidson NV Stables Limited in Wingate, East Durham was ordered to pay the fine as well as £4,500 in costs after workers were exposed to wood dust which can cause "irreversible health problems."

Concerns were first raised by inspectors in June 2022 regarding ventilation and exposure to wood dust from a chop saw and circular table saw, and notices to improve the site were made.

Despite this, a second inspection in January 2023 revealed that the same saws and ventilation process were being used by employees.

The company had also not provided HSE with confirmation it had been examined and was adequately controlling wood dust exposure.

Following these incidents, an investigation found that the company had "shown a disregard for health and safety due to their failure to comply with the improvement notices". 

They were found guilty of contravening two counts of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulations of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Clare Maltby said: “This company showed a blatant disregard to the safety of its own workers.


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“Companies are responsible for controlling the exposure to wood dust, a substance which is hazardous to health and can cause long term health effects such as occupational asthma.

“Compliance could have been achieved by simply getting a LEV fitted to the circular table saw and getting a competent person to undertake a thorough examination and test of the LEV on the chop saw. 

“This case demonstrates that we will not hesitate to prosecute companies who fail to comply with the law.”