Michael Northcroft, furniture maker to Adele Adkins, English pop singer, has been banned from using broom over claims that it’s hazardous to health.
Apart from Adele, Northcroft’s customers include Theresa May, British prime minister, who resigned as leader of the party on June 7, and Ronaldo, Brazilian football legend, among others.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a workplace health and safety enforcement agency in the United Kingdom, charged the veteran craftsman to go for a £2,000 industrial vacuum cleaner instead.
Michael was said to have received a letter from the agency ordering him to stop dry sweeping and provide evidence of this within a week.
He was also told that the usage of broom was exposing his 10 workers to “a substance hazardous to health, namely airborne wood dust” at his factory in Leyton, east London.
“Prolonged exposure to high levels of wood dust is known to be one of the direct causes of the high number of cases of occupational asthma and nasal cancer suffered by people in the woodworking industry,’ said the HSE.
“While it is simply not the case that HSE has banned the use of broomsticks, companies are being encouraged to use one of the many safer and more efficient types of equipment where the health of workers is better protected.”
Although Northcroft agreed that defying the order may come with dire consequences, he dismissed it as a “joke”.
“I’ve been managing factories for over 40 years and never have I come across such a joke. It’s a load of rubbish. My message to the health and safety executives is, ‘Sorry, I’m not doing it. The broom stays’,” Northcroft told The Sun.
“This isn’t something I can choose to do or not do. I’ve been told I have to ban the use of dry sweeping and must confirm with them by a particular date that I’ve complied with their requirements.
“If I ignore these guys it will get pretty heavy — but I’m up for the fight. I’m going to pick up my broom and get back to work.”
Northcroft accused the agency of being oblivious of how brooms works, hinting that the more recommended vacuum cleaners pose even greater risks to workers due to the exposure of its power cables.
“‘They have a nonsense video on their website showing someone using a huge yard broom with stiff bristles to sweep up a massive pile of sawdust. Use a nice short one with soft bristles — just like mine, Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows brooms should be pushed and kept on the floor,” he added.