A waste recycling company has been fined after one of its employees sustained severe burns to his face and upper body whilst attempting to dislodge a blockage in an energy-from-waste furnace at the recycling plant.
Accident at Work
On the 17th of October 2014, Teesside Crown Court heard how the worker was seriously scalded by hot ash and water at the Stockton-on-Tees site of SUEZ. After a blockage on one of its lines, the worker opened a hatch on a chute, which gets rid of the burnt waste. He used a metal pole to extricate the blockage and in doing so was exposed to a plume of hot ash and steam which exploded from the hatch causing severe burns to his upper body and face as he tried to escape.
Health and Safety Investigation
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation and found that the company failed to adequately take into account the risk that the workers were being exposed to during this task. Therefore, the system of work they arranged was not sufficient to stop this incident from occurring. The company was also found guilty of not implementing the appropriate systems to manage and supervise the activity of this workplace. This meant the limited measures they had put in place, were not being followed.
Sentencing and fines
SUEZ Recycling and Recovery Tees Valley Ltd of SUEZ House Maidenhead Berkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
HSE inspector Victoria Wise said following the hearing:
“Problems often occur in production and it is essential that companies recognise and understand them to prevent them happening or introduce engineering controls and systems of work that prevent people being injured.”
The company has today been fined £220,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,695.65.
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Source: Health and Safety Executive