AN ENGINEERING company has received a hefty fine by the courts for failing to control the risk of its employees developing dermatitis following exposure to metalworking fluid.

Employees at Lymington Precision Engineers Co Limited (LPE) were exposed to metalworking fluid while working on conventional materials on the company site off Marsh Lane and Gosport Street, Lymington.

West Hampshire Magistrates' Court in Southampton heard that workers were put at risk between October 2017 and January 2019 when using equipment such as lathes and milling machines.

Metalworking fluid is used on the machines to lubricate and cool work pieces and is classed as a substance hazardous to health. Exposure to metalworking fluid can lead to the development of dermatitis and asthma and can have serious, life-changing health effects.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to ensure adequate measures were in place for the control of exposure to metalworking fluids, exposing their employees to the risk of contracting dermatitis.

LPE, whose registered address is of High Street, Rickmansworth, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,447.46.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Nicola Pinckney said: “This case could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing correct control measures and appropriate working practices. Appropriate controls could include provision and use of well-fitting overalls, use of gloves in contact with contaminated work pieces, avoidance of the use of airlines for cleaning activities, and the provision of an effective skin care regime.

“Control of exposure to hazardous substances is a legal requirement on employers and HSE provides guidance on how control can be achieved.”