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Senior environmental office has endangered my staff lives can I sue?

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  • Senior environmental office has endangered my staff lives can I sue?

    Hi guys need some help

    we had a senior environmental officer turn up at our yard as there had been a complaint from a neighbour about noise he told my staff that when the batch oven is on the door must be kept closed as we are around 4db above the background noise of the mix use area and the complaint couldn’t enjoy their garden.
    The problem with shutting the door is the appliance is forced draught and need a 20 cm per hour replenishment of air as the burners for the oven uses the air in the warehouse to burn safely. I told him door isn’t allowed to be closed dues to the possibility of carbon monoxide being produced if the air isn’t replenished by having door open.


    Forgot to to tell him I’m a commercial gas engineer with 15+ experience of installing equipment and running my own business with no corgi, gas safe or HSE investigations in that time.


    he has also since notified the planning department who sent around the planning office who found we hadn’t broken any of the local planning policy’s or planning permissions
    he then issued us with a noise abatement notice after first answering an email sent 14 days earlier at 10:50 in answer to his letter sent 17days earlier. he the hand delivers the noise abatement notice at 15:00 on the same day as answering the email in which he stated he wanted to work with us amicably.
    in the noise abatement oven is 4.5dB over the background noise and a sampling of less than3hrs while school was off.
    now he’s also reported us to the HSE calming my equipment is a danger to my staff and not providing a safe working environment.(HSE inspected agreed with me that door couldn’t be closed if oven is on and gave us a clean bill of health on the safety of the rest of the business working environment)
    I’ve appeled the noise abatement waiting on court date.


    I’m looking to sue for putting my staff in danger at the very least is this possible and are there any other thing I could sue for?
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Did your staff follow the environmental officer's advice, or did you stop them?

    Are the doors clearly labelled to indicate that they must be opened during the time the ovens are lit? Otherwise, how could the EO possibly have known? He no doubt will say that he was just suggesting a way in which the noise could be abated and trying to be helpful.

    Out of interest, is there a CO monitor that automatically shuts the oven down if necessary?



    Anyway, if nobody was actually injured because of your timely intervention, you haven't got a case. You, as employer, are responsible for the staff safety, and you are responsible for giving instructions to staff, not the EO.

    You seem to have a problem. Leaving the door open creates too much noise. Shutting it is dangerous. The obvious solution is to have some other form of ventilation than the door. That may be less costly than suing the council, who have a lot more money than you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Adding mechanical ventilation not an option running costs, installation cost and maintenance cost unaffordable.
      If a gas engineer ordered do to be shut he’d be draged over the coals. Me as an employer dragged over coals.
      him as a public servant nothing happens. The next time he might not have an employer that has my knowledge and end up killing people due to his stupidity.


      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jcbkabs View Post
        Adding mechanical ventilation not an option running costs, installation cost and maintenance cost unaffordable.
        If a gas engineer ordered do to be shut he’d be draged over the coals. Me as an employer dragged over coals.
        him as a public servant nothing happens. The next time he might not have an employer that has my knowledge and end up killing people due to his stupidity.

        Well, you can complain to the LA. I think they will reject your complaint, on the basis that the inspector made a suggestion for how to abate the noise, and it's up to the employer to check out any safety issues, as the employer should have full knowledge of the processes involved and can hire in the necessary expertise. That seems like a reasonable division of responsibility to me.

        All of this seems like a distraction to me. The way you have your process set up, it's causing too much noise, and eventually they'll close you down unless you deal with it or win the appeal.

        I'm quite surprised that HSE allowed you to get away with the present arrangement. You can drum into your workers the importance of keeping the door open, but one particularly cold day you won't be present and they'll shut the door 'just for a bit'. You must have some CO alarms you haven't mentioned, I guess.

        The council inspector 'blew the whistle' and contacted HSE over his concerns. There's legislation to protect whistle-blowers, so I can't see him being dragged over any coals for that.

        Comment

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