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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 14:36 GMT
Poor language skills 'pose risk'
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning employers to make sure their workers' language skills are good enough for the work they are doing.

It follows a 25,000 fine imposed on a Telford company after a woman broke her arm in a factory machine.

Magna Specialist Confectioners of Stafford Park admitted breaching Health and Safety regulations.

The company was also ordered to pay nearly 5000 costs at a hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Friday.

Risk assessment

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Investigating Inspector Guy Dale said he believed the fact that the injured woman used English as a second language may have been a factor in the accident.

He suggested that an employee's understanding of written and spoken English should be checked before they started work.

Mr Dale said it was a fundamental expectation that employees should be able to work in safety.

Urging employers to carry out risk assessments at their workplaces he said: "It allows employers to weigh up whether they have taken enough precautions, or need to do more to prevent harm."

He added that the fine imposed by the Crown Court reflected the earlier recognition by the Magistrates' Court that there was a "catalogue of systemic failures in the company".

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