Lack of risk assessment critical factor in accident…
A company in Lincolnshire involved in the production of frozen potato products has been prosecuted after an employee suffered severe burns caused by hot oil.
The accident victim was employed as a health and safety manager at the company and suffered 10% burns to his shoulder, back, neck and upper arms while he was monitoring the jet washing of an oil tank at the premises of the firm in Easton on 27 November 2012.
Grantham Magistrates’ Court were told that the accident victim positioned himself between some guard rails at the top of the tank as he checked on the washing process. However he accidentally hit off a pipe that was connected to a pressure gauge, and after the pipe became loose, hot oil at a temperature of around 160 degrees Celsius poured over his upper body area.
The 62-year-old accident victim was unable to work for about a month and then decided to leave the company permanently.
The subsequent investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the company had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment for the cleaning of the oil tank. They had instead mistakenly decided to undertake the cleaning procedure first with the intention of writing up the risk assessment afterwards.
The company was fined £16,500 with an additional £571 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green commented after the hearing:
“The whole point of a risk assessment is to ensure the risks associated with a particular task are considered and measures put in place to mitigate against them in order to keep workers safe.
“To carry out the work first and then write the assessment afterwards is foolhardy to say the least.
“The accidemt victim was extremely fortunate not to be more seriously injured. If it hadn’t been for the incredibly quick actions of colleagues who dragged him to an emergency shower this incident may have had a very different outcome.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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