This article was published on February 23rd, 2017
A company was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive after an accident was reported at one of its sites where by two workers received serious burns.
The investigations revealed how the engineering company committed safety breaches which resulted in two workers being sprayed with chemicals whilst a pipework system was being chemically cleaned and maintained. They were using Sodium Hydroxide granules to clean a pipe system and were burned when the granules reacted with the water and heated up causing pressure to build up in the hose. The hose then detached and sprayed the workers causing severe burns.
The Crown Court heard how one employee’s burns were so bad they were life threatening and covered his back, buttocks, arms, leg, neck and his face. The second employee fared slightly better with burns to his head, ear, neck, back, and left arm.
The investigation found there were numerous safety breaches including poor risk assessment of the job in hand and inappropriate equipment/hosing which was not suitable for using with the Sodium Hydroxide solution. The HSE established that inadequate protective workwear was provided for their employees working with corrosive chemicals (personal protective equipment – PPE) .
Although the company pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, they were found guilty and fined £150,000 by a Crown Court.
An HSE inspector commented: “If a suitable risk assessment had been undertaken it would have identified that the equipment being used was not right for the chemicals or the work being carried out. All companies who work with high hazard chemicals should learn from this case and ensure that their workers are properly protected.”
Accidents can be embarrassing and stressful and we often blame ourselves when they happen but ask yourself this.. were you given the right tools and equipment for the job? Was the job risk assessed and properly supervised? were you given the proper training to do the job? are all the tools and machinery maintained and fit for purpose? If you are unsure if you are at fault or not then speak to one of our specialist solicitors who find out for you and will handle every aspect of your work accident compensation claim, providing the support and expertise you deserve.
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