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Company fined for putting workers at risk of exposure to radiation

21 April 2023

A company in Cornwall, UK has been fined after putting its employees at risk of exposure to ionising radiation over a ten-year period.

Door to the industrial radiography enclosure - Image: HSE
Door to the industrial radiography enclosure - Image: HSE

In 2009, Terrill Bros. (Founders) Limited’s external Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) identified failings in the access controls and warning systems at the company’s foundry. In the ten years following, the company received further RPA visits, reports and advice, yet remedial action was not taken.

The company’s failure to address these issues continued until the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an unannounced inspection of the foundry in February 2019.

A HSE investigation found the door to the company’s industrial radiography enclosure did not have adequate interlocks nor was there a suitable trapped key system to prevent access. There were also no pre-exposure warning systems or automatic and failsafe warning lights in place. Employees at Terrill Bros. (Founders) Limited were put at risk of exposure to high dose rates of ionising radiation by the company’s reliance on administrative controls, rather than installing industry standard engineering controls.

Terrill Bros. (Founders) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017, and Regulation 8(1) of the preceding Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999. The company was fined £33,750 and ordered to pay costs of £47,601 at Truro Crown Court on April 14.

Karen Fuller, HSE Specialist Inspector of Radiation, said: "This situation could so easily have been avoided by acting on the advice received from their RPA and installing appropriate control measures.

"All companies carrying out industrial radiography must ensure they have appropriate access controls and warning systems for their enclosures. Only then can they be confident that any exposure to ionising radiation is kept as low as reasonably practicable and the risks of accidental exposure are minimised.

"Companies 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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