Health and Safety Executive (UK)

Health and Safety Executive (UK)

Merseyside chemical firm fined after worker suffers burns

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Source: Health and Safety Executive (UK)

A multi-national chemical company has been fined GBP£13,485 after a worker's neck and shoulders were scalded at its Wirral factory.

Dean Moore, 39, was unblocking equipment containing lithium chloride - a chemical used to manufacture computer batteries - when the steam-heated substance spewed out onto him.

FMC Chemicals Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the company's site at Wirral International Business Park in Bromborough on 5 June 2008.

Wirral Magistrates' Court heard that Mr Moore from Connah's Quay, North Wales, had been employed as a temporary worker at the factory but had not received suitable training to carry out the work.

The court also heard that HSE issued FMC with three improvement notices in May 2007 after a worker suffered burns to the legs during maintenance cleaning work.

The company was served with another six notices in December 2007 requiring improvements to safety, which it was working towards complying with at the time of the incident.

FMC Chemicals Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers. The company was ordered to pay GBP£8,926.50 towards the cost of the prosecution in addition to the fine at Wirral Magistrates' Court on 15 April.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Moore said:

'We had been using steam to unblock the pipes and had assumed they were all clear when a load of the chemical poured out. I thought safety measures were in place but obviously they weren't.

'I've been permanently scarred and was in a lot of pain for six months after it happened and suffered from depression. It's been a real struggle to find new work since the accident and I'm still unemployed.'

Mark Burton, Health and Safety Inspector at HSE, said:

'Mr Moore was allowed to work in an area he had not been trained to work in and he should not have been there. He suffered burns as a consequence.

'FMC Chemicals was in the process of restructuring its safety management systems as a result of the enforcement notices we served and had appointed a new management team to lead the company.

'Unfortunately whilst the company was prioritising its resources at the time, it forgot the basics on this occasion. Significant risks should have been identified and adequate control measures put into place.'

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