A Norwich businessman feels a £40,000 fine his company has been hit with is 'massively unfair' after health and safety failures landed him in court. 

John Risby, the director of woodworking company Turners and Moore Limited, has avoided jail after it was found that his employees were exposed to harmful wood dust.

This can cause serious and often irreversible health problems and employers have a legal responsibility to prevent or control exposure in the workplace.

Risby was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs of £1,100 at Norwich Magistrates Court.

Norwich Evening News: The Turners and Moore workshop in Hurrican Way, NorwichThe Turners and Moore workshop in Hurrican Way, Norwich (Image: Google Maps)

His company was also fined £40,000 after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an inspection at the firm’s Hurricane Way site, near Norwich Airport, in November 2017 which identified significant failings in its measures to control exposure of employees to wood dust.

Enforcement action was taken, however, a subsequent inspection in August 2022 showed the company had failed to maintain standards and further enforcement action was taken.

HSE inspector Natalie Prince said: "This outcome should send a strong message out to anyone with a responsibility for protecting workers.

"Exposure to wood dust can cause serious ongoing health problems and businesses must do all that they can to protect their workers."

An example of the work carried out by Turners & Moore

Some of the measures that can be taken to control exposure to workers include dust extraction and vacuuming instead of sweeping. 

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Mr Risby said: "Their whole thing is massively unfair, there's nothing morally wrong with anything we did.

"There's no justice here and there was no evidence of anyone actually being harmed.

"This is part of a larger picture of things being made harder for small businesses and the reality is that it's just an unjust situation, but I've accepted it."