A Bristol joinery and staircase specialist has been fined £3,750 for taking insufficient action to control exposure to wood dust.

Blackstone Developments (South West) Ltd pleaded guilty to contravening the requirements of a Health & Safety Improvement Notice issued on October 7, 2010.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspector had visited the Satellite Business Park-based firm, an architectural and traditional joiners, and found that the local exhaust ventilation (LEV) plant used to control exposure to wood dust was not working efficiently or maintained in good repair. An improvement notice was duly issued.

A follow-up visit in February found that the notice had been insufficiently complied with.

“Woodworking dusts can be potentially harmful to health,” said HSE inspector Christine Haberfield after sentencing. “They can cause asthma and dermatitis and some are linked to cancer. It is imperative that where local exhaust ventilation is provided to prevent employees breathing in the dust, it is maintained and examined to ensure that it is working properly.”

She warned that any joineries not in compliance would face enforcement action and then prosecution.

Blackstone was also ordered to pay £836.50 in costs.