Sixty five per cent of South Yorkshire firms breach health and safety laws in week-long operation

Sixty five per cent of firms were rapped for health and safety breaches in a week-long operation in South Yorkshire shock new figures show.

By David Walsh
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 7:13 am

A total of 46 out of 71 firms in Sheffield and Rotherham hit with surprise inspections were ordered to make improvements to protect workers, according to the Health and Safety Executive.


Some 22 inspectors visited companies in the metal fabrication, engineering, general manufacturing and waste and recycling sectors.

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The operation is focusing on firms where workers regularly undertake welding and use ‘metalworking fluids’ - oils and fluids for lubrication and cooling - which can be harmful on skin or when inhaled as a ‘mist’.

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They served three prohibition notices and 31 improvement notices. HSE has also formally written to a further 23 companies to ‘compel them to improve’ health and safety.

Breaches included poor control of carcinogenic welding fumes and metal working fluids.


The operation was launched after three workers died and 594 were injured in the year 2020-2021.

Andrew Denison, acting head of operations said: “Protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of workers is of paramount importance and at the heart of what we do.

“The high proportion of breaches identified during this initiative indicates that the risks were not being adequately controlled.

Inspectors have taken robust proportionate action to deal with serious risks and to ensure companies are complying with the law.

“I hope businesses will take note and understand that they will be held to account if they fail in their responsibilities.”

Inspectors were from HSE’s Yorkshire and North East Field Operations teams.

The operation focused on firms where workers do welding and use ‘metalworking fluids’ - oils and fluids for lubrication and cooling.

In 2020, some 12,000 people in the UK died from lung diseases likely to be linked to past exposure from work.

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