Michael Northcroft (pictured above) was told to stop using a broom
A furniture maker to the stars has been told to stop using a broom in his workshop by health and safety bosses who have branded it a health hazard.
Michael Northcroft has been using a broom for decades to sweep his store in east London but has now been told he can no longer use it by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The 63-year-old, who has created pieces for everyone from Theresa May to Adele, said safety bosses want him to fork out £2,000 for an industrial vacuum cleaner.
Health and safety bosses claimed the broom raises wood dust that can be harmful, but Mr Northcroft has brushed these claims aside and has said he will continue to use the broom.
Speaking to The Sun he said: ‘It’s a load of rubbish. My message to the health and safety executives is, ‘Sorry, I’m not doing it. The broom stays’.
‘I’ve been managing factories for over 40 years and never have I come across such a joke.
‘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.
The HSE said Mr Northcroft was putting his ten workers in danger by continuing to use a broom (pictured above a worker at the east London workshop)
Mr Northcroft (pictured above) has created furniture pieces for everyone from Theresa May, Adele and even Ronaldo
‘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.’
Mr Northcroft, who has also created furniture for football legend Ronaldo, said he was stunned when the HSE ordered a broom ban after his inspecting his Leyton workshop.
They highlighted that sweeping sawdust was exposing his workers to ‘a substance hazardous to heath, namely airborne wood dust’.
They then sent him a letter which advised him to ‘prohibit’ dry sweeping and to provide evidence of this within just one week.
A piece of furniture created by Mr Northcroft and his team at the workshop in east London
When the HSE visited the workshop (pictured above) they spent two hours surveying the space
The letter to Mr Northcroft, who employs ten people at the workshop, even included a picture of the dangerous broom.
Mr Northcroft has now been charged £154 for the two hour inspection, which took place earlier this month and will continue to be charged with the hourly rate during his appeal, for the time it takes the HSE to reply to letters.
Mr Northcroft said that the main problem is that the HSE doesn’t understand how to use a broom.
He added: ‘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.
‘The bristles are too long and they’re lifting the broom off the floor, kicking up dust.
Mr Northcroft (pictured above) said that the main problem is that the HSE doesn’t understand how to use a broom
A side table, created by Mr Northcroft and his team. The HSE said they didn’t ban the use of broomsticks
‘Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows brooms should be pushed and kept on the floor. Use a nice short one with soft bristles — just like mine.
‘Using commercial vacuums means power cables will be running everywhere, no doubt causing a bigger risk than my little old broomstick ever poses. This is the sort of rot that makes companies move manufacturing abroad.’
The HSE said: ‘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.
‘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.’
This is while the secretary of the British Woodcarvers Association, Ken Veal, said that the concept of sweeping without a broom was ‘daft’.
Tables and chairs in a home which were created by Mr Northcroft. The HSE said the use of a broom could cause asthma
A worker at the workshop in east London can be seen preparing a piece of wood which will later be used in furniture