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Company fined after worker suffers severe burns

A County Durham-based firm has been in court after one of its employees suffered painful burns to his face, arm and hand, when he was hit by a jet of hot molten plastic.

What happened?

John Calcutt had been clearing solidified plastic from a large moulding machine at the firm’s site in Newton Aycliffe.

As he was doing so, hot liquid plastic was ejected from the machine and hit his arm, hand and the left side of his face causing serious burns.

The 47-year old was airlifted to hospital where he was kept in for three days. He has since returned to work, but is still receiving treatment and physiotherapy for his injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that a blockage in the machine had been identified that morning.

Three of the workers, including Mr Calcutt, attempted to clear the blockage in order to get the machine working, though none were wearing any form of eye or face protection.

Additionally, no training had been provided in relation to clearing blockages on the machine.

What was the outcome?

Ebac Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £770.10 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Victoria Wise, said:

“This incident could have been easily prevented if Ebac Ltd had a
safe system of work in place for dealing with blockages.

“The potential for ejection of hot molten plastic is highlighted in
the industry’s own guidance and this was a foreseeable risk
that should have been part of the risk assessment
process for clearing blockages.

“The company should have also had monitoring in place to ensure that
its employees were using the appropriate personal protective
equipment that had been provided.

“Instead, the firm’s failures mean a worker has suffered serious injuries.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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