A company has been hit with a fine after it was found to have breached health and safety regulations relating to the use of chemicals in the workplace.
Prior Scientific Instruments, which is based in Fulbourne, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after paint sprayer Adam Coventon, 36, suffered various medical problems. He developed breathing difficulties, headaches and irritation in his eyes after coming into contact with harmful substances during his work.
Mr Coventon has been unable to return to work since being exposed to the chemicals and has been told he is unlikely to ever take up employment again.
The case went to Cambridge Magistrates' Court last week and the HSE explained the company had failed to offer the employee adequate protection for the work he was carrying out. He had been tasked with preparing and painting small parts for scientific instruments - a process that involved working with potentially dangerous chemicals, including trichloroethylene.
Prior Scientific Instruments was found to have failed to provide the right safety equipment to help Mr Coventon deal with the situation. With hazardous fumes plaguing the workplace, he needed to be protected.
The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and it was subsequently fined £9,000 and told to pay costs of more than £2,500. Keith Whiting, who had been employed as a health and safety consultant, was fined £1,500 after being found to have failed to offer suitable advice.
Mr Coventon's partner, who opted not to be named, said: "This whole thing has had a huge effect on our lives, as we have to constantly plan around Adam's symptoms. We all just wish that his remaining symptoms go so that he can once again be fit and strong. This case highlights the important job the HSE do and the need for companies to monitor and control chemicals."
Companies in all sectors might now need to review the chemicals they work with and how they are dealt with.