A company responsible for the manufacture of building products has been prosecuted following an incident in which a worker suffered severe cement burns.
An inexperienced young agency worker suffered severe chemical burns to his ankles and feet after being exposed to alkaline cement slurry. Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard how the 21 year old, on what was his first day of full time employment, required plastic surgery and has been left with lifelong scarring after the incident on 28th April 2014.
A Health and Safety (HSE) investigation into the incident found that the company had not taken into account that exposure to slurry from concrete dust is just as dangerous as exposure to wet uncured concrete and cement. Further to this, the HSE found that sufficient controls to control the risks were not in pace and there had been no risk assessment.
According to HSE’s findings, the workers ‘life changing injuries’ could have been avoided if a mechanical system to remove the slurry had been used.
In a statement given to the Court, the worker discussed the impact of the incident:
“A year after the accident my feet are scarred. My right foot is worse than my left. I find it difficult still to walk. I don’t know how my feet will improve in the long term. I wouldn’t like anyone to go through what I have had to go through”.
Sentencing & Fines
After pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Stressline Limited was fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,121.
Following the hearing Dr Richenda Dixon, HSE inspector, said:
“The risks from concrete and cement are well known in this industry. Companies need to protect agency workers as they are as likely to have injures in the first six months of employment as in the rest of their working lives.”
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Source: Health & Safety Executive