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Food producer exposes goods to contamination

Blake (not his real name) worked as an engineer for a food producer. He was concerned that products were not being properly cleaned during production and goods were being exposed to contaminated water and excess chemicals. He also told us that the warehouse where he worked did not have a safe fire alarm system.

Blake raised his concerns confidentially to the CEO but no action was taken – instead, he was threatened with disciplinary action. Blake raised concerns to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but the employer was given enough notice of an investigation to superficially address the concerns. Blake was forced to resign and sought advice on making a claim for constructive dismissal. 

We identified that Blake was fast approaching the time limit for bringing a claim so we suggested that he try to argue that he had suffered a continuing act of detriment over many months and seek urgent advice from his Trade Union. The HSE had since revisited the warehouse on several occasions and Blake was satisfied that the regulator was taking action. Blake submitted his claim in the Employment Tribunal in time and his case is to be heard in late 2020.

Whistleblower exposed to asbestos speaks up to regulator

Tom (not his real name) worked for an asbestos removal company for several years. A foreman in the company was ignoring the safety procedures for handling asbestos and failed to test a connecting room where Tom was working. This exposed Tom to white asbestos and he contacted Protect for advice.

We advised Tom to seek advice from his GP to create a record of his medical concerns, particularly as asbestos symptoms can develop slowly. Tom had previously raised concerns to an analyst so we advised him to write to her to confirm their telephone conversation. We explored Tom’s personal situation and the outcome he most desired, and we explained his options were either to raise his concerns internally, leave the company and raise his concerns to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), or take advice from a personal injury specialist. We also suggested that he ask the HSE how they were likely to respond to a concern such as this before providing them with all of the details.

Tom decided to find a new job and raise his concerns to the HSE. He thanked us for our advice which he said had been very helpful.