Recent sentencing following acute exposure to organic solvents.
Could your business afford $300 000 in fines?
A recent article from WorkSafe advised:
“Aimex Limited was sentenced recently in the Nelson District Court for failing to ensure a worker was not exposed to hazards arising from the use of a hazardous substance. The worker was found unresponsive in the empty engine room of a catamaran where they were using a solvent to clean oily residue. They were taken to hospital and has since suffered ongoing health issues. This case is a reminder to businesses that they must ensure effective controls are applied, including adequate ventilation, when their workers are using solvents. The company was fined $250,000 and ordered to pay $50,000 reparation. It was also ordered to pay $15,000 consequential loss, and $1,434.12 prosecution costs.”
Looking after your workers is a key role of any business, ensuring that they have the correct equipment in place when dealing with organic solvents.
When working with organic solvents in confined spaces it is important to note the following:
- Always use supplied air (airline or SCBA) in confined spaces as concentration levels can increase very quickly.
- Airline respiratory is best in this case as it has unlimited work time and is less cumbersome than SCBA.
- The UNImask is a good solution as it’s more comfortable than a full face mask and provide excellent field of vision and adjustable airflow between the top and bottom of the mask.
- The whole set up (excluding the air compressor) has RRP of around $2400 + GST vs >$300,000 in fines and reparations (pretty good deal really).