Health and safety breach at Huntingdonshire District Council HQ

Pathfinder House, Huntingdon, HDC

Pathfinder House, Huntingdon, HDC - Credit: Archant

AN investigation into humidity levels at Huntingdonshire District Council’s HQ revealed they are breaching health and safety laws.

Complaints from members of staff about “feeling dry” prompted the study at Pathfinder House, in Huntingdon.

Seventy-seven humidity measurements were taken at 23 places throughout the building between November and January. Others were taken at Eastfield House, in Latham Road, which houses the district’s CCTV monitoring equipment.

HDC’s environmental health officer Keith Lawson said the results revealed the levels “routinely fell below” the recommended guidelines and were in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The legislation exists to ensure a safe working environment without risks to health.

The council’s Safety Advisory Group was told humidity was not included in the original build specification.

The group considered measures to rectify the problem and suggested a choice of solutions be drawn up after advice from an expert. It also discussed whether staff should be told.

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A report of the meeting said: “With regard to whether employees should be informed of the current situation, Mr Lawson recommended transparency. The group was advised that the report of the meeting would be available to staff on the council’s health and safety intranet page.”

An estimate for the work has been received but the council is not releasing the figure.

An HDC spokesman said: “We take issues that potentially affect our staff very seriously and hence we are currently reviewing levels of humidity to ensure that they are correct.

“We have been measuring humidity levels over recent months at both our Pathfinder House and Eastfield House sites and initial investigations suggest they are sometimes below the recommended levels.

“We are now looking at ways to rectify this situation. Recommendations will be published in due course.”

The matter is included in a report being considered by HDC’s cabinet tomorrow (Thursday).