Private school charity fined £100,000 after employee developed lung disease

Stonyhurst College in Clitheroe, Lancashire, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, and will pay £30,000 costs

Stonyhurst College
Stonyhurst College

A private school charity in Clitheroe, Lancashire, has been ordered to pay more than £130,000 after one of its construction staff developed a potentially fatal lung disease following exposure to illegal levels of silica dust.

A judge at Preston Crown Court last week handed down a £100,000 fine to the Roman Catholic independent school Stonyhurst College and ordered it to pay £31,547.78 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Terry McGough, from West Derby, near Liverpool, was employed by Stonyhurst for nearly 12 years.

The Health and Safety Executive, the prosecuting authority, found that he and other stonemasons employed by the college were exposed to up to 80 times the daily limit for silica dust. The college did not take any measures to monitor or reduce the exposure of workers to the dust, according to an HSE statement.

McGough was diagnosed with silicosis in July 2011 before being made redundant in November the same year.

As a result of the disease, McGough has reduced lung function, suffers from breathlessness and can no longer continue with his profession, according to the HSE.

Mike Mullen, an inspector at the HSE, said: "There was no attempt by the college to assess and manage its workers’ exposure despite having their attention drawn to the risks by its own health and safety consultant in 2008.

"A worker who was previously very active now struggles to play outside with his grandchildren and will suffer breathing difficulties for the rest of his life.

A spokeswoman for the college said: "Stonyhurst College pleaded guilty to this single offence at the outset of these proceedings. It has indicated its remorse in open court for the position Mr McGough finds himself in. We accept the judgment of the court."

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