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Private School Fined in Silicosis Case

June 2, 2014
Health and Safety

Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe Lancashire has been fined £100,000 after a stonemason working at the historic building developed silicosis. The 55 year old man from West Derby near Liverpool worked at the college for eleven years and was diagnosed with the potentially fatal lung disease in July 2011.

Preston Crown Court was told that the college had undertaken a 21 month project to build a new four storey sixth form building. The work used more than 400 tonnes of sandstone which the stonemasons cut and shaped using powered hand tools. Health and Safety Executive inspectors found that the college failed to recognise the risks involved as stonemasons were regularly exposed to levels of silica dust 80 times the daily limit.

After the hearing which resulted in the college also being ordered to pay £31,547.78 in costs HSE Inspector Mike Mullen said: “There was no attempt by the college to assess and manage its workers’ exposure despite having their attention drawn to the risks by its own health and safety consultant in 2008. A worker who was previously very active now struggles to play outside with his grandchildren, and will suffer breathing difficulties for the rest of his life.”

Silicosis is an irreversible condition that can also lead to increased chance of suffering from a number of other illnesses including lung cancer, arthritis, and kidney disease.