After an explosion at a factory, a company has been fined £26,000.
Workers at the factory were treating fabrics with a hydrophobic coating. The coating in question gave off flammable vapours during the application and while drying in the spray room afterwards. The flammable vapours ignited, which caused an explosion.
Unfortunately, this happened as a 51 year old employee was walking past the spray room. The blast threw him several metres across the factor. He also suffered severe burn injuries to 15% of his body.
Following this the Health & Safety Executive conducted an investigation into the circumstances. They found that the company failed to ensure the safety of their employees by not removing several sources of ignition in the spray room. This included liquid petroleum gas space heaters, domestic light fittings, and other electrical equipment.
The company had also ignored the clear instructions on the safety data sheet. The substance had to be kept away from sources of heat, hot surfaces, sparks, open flames, and other ignition sources.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. £26,000 in fines and £7,196 in costs was payable.
After the hearing, an inspector from the HSE spoke. “Employers who handle, store or use flammable substances must consider the potential risk of fire and explosion and ensure they have robust procedures in place to assess and control risk at all times.
“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to fully assess the risk and implement safe systems of work.”More News