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EHPs are multi-skilled professionals

William Hatchett13/09/2018 - 13:59

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EHPs are multiskilled and work together
EHPs are multiskilled and work together

The prosecution of an education authority for health and safety breaches has highlighted the ability of environmental health practitioners to spot hazards and to work effectively with other regulatory bodies.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how, in November 2014, an EHO was carrying out a routine food inspection of Landsdowne Primary School in Sittingbourne, Kent, when they noticed what looked like asbestos rope hanging from the ceiling.

Information was passed by the officer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and a prohibition notice was served on the now independent educational trust. An investigation found that the asbestos flue and rope has been disturbed when it was under the control of the County Council 18 months beforehand.

The HSE found that the flue and gasket rope were attached to a steriliser unit that was removed by the caretaker. Neither the caretaker nor the head teacher had any asbestos management or awareness training. The council had failed to effectively prevent exposure and failed to provide suitable training to those liable to be exposed to asbestos.

Kent County Council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 10 (1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £21,500.

Tony Lewis, CIEH head of policy, said: ‘This case shows what EHPs bring to the table as enforcement officers. It’s an illustration of the multi-disciplinary nature of their education and training, which crosses many areas, including food safety and health and safety, and it shows how they can collaborate effectively in partnership working. 

'Here, the EHO involved passed evidence to the HSE, highlighting a potentially life-threatening danger and resulting in a significant fine. With enforcement resources being increasingly stretched, every visit must count and cases like this clearly demonstrate the value of EHPs.’

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Golding said: ‘The council had implemented a system, but they had failed to take the simple step of checking to ensure it was being rigorously adhered to, resulting in employees not receiving the appropriate training. Organisations should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.’





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