THE WHITEHAVEN NEWS

THE WHITEHAVEN NEWS



NEW COURT DATE FOR BNFL HEALTH AND SAFETY CHARGES

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Health and safety charges against BNFL concerning radiation exposure to a scaffolder working at Sellafield have been put back until next month.

The charges appeared on a list before Whitehaven Magistrates last Thursday but after a behind-the-scenes re-arrangement, they will now be heard on Wednesday, February 20.

An earlier date of January 24 had been set but BNFL say it was not possible to go ahead then because a Nuclear Installations Inspectorate legal representative was not available.

BNFL face four charges stemming from an incident early last year in which a contract scaffolder received a radiation dose to his skin while working in the Thorp plant's crane maintenance cell.

The company is charged with failing to ensure that the scaffolder was not exposed to health and safety risks and contravening regulations in not taking all necessary steps to restrict his exposure to ionising radiation. On two other counts, BNFL is accused of failing to ensure that operations were carried out under the control of suitably qualified people and failing to make a sufficient assessment of working risks in the crane maintenance cell.

BNFL will not publicly indicate its plea until the court hearing but at a recent meeting of the Sellafield Local Liaison Committee Sellafield's director of operations Brian Watson said he deeply regretted the incident.