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Safety manager suffers serious burns in workplace accident

PAS (Grantham) Ltd was fined £16,500 after failing to carry out a risk assessment, which led to their safety manager suffering 10 per cent burns to his upper body while cleaning out a storage tank that usually contained oil.

Sixty-two-year-old Harvey Hopwood, the frozen food company's safety manager, was overseeing the cleaning of the oil storage tank with a high-pressure washer when he climbed up to the gantry above the tank and went between the guard rails to review the progress of the cleaning of the tank.

As he climbed through the guard rails, he knocked off the pipe that was connected to a pressure gauge, which resulted in his being sprayed by hot oil at a temperature of 160°C. The scalding oil landed on his shoulders, upper arms, neck and back and resulted in 10 per cent burns

Thankfully, his colleagues reacted very quickly and used the emergency shower, which stopped his injuries from being much worse.

Mr Hopwood had to take a month off work to recover from his injuries and decided to leave the company after his recuperation.

PAS (Grantham) Ltd did not complete a risk assessment before the work was carried out on the oil tank. Instead, it left the task until after the job had been completed. The Health & Safety Executive inspector who worked on this case commented that this kind of behaviour was ‘foolhardy to say the least and Mr Hopwood only avoided more serious injuries because of his colleagues' quick thinking'.

The magistrate's court in Grantham heard PAS (Grantham) plead guilty to breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and, along with the £16,000 fine, the firm was ordered to pay £500 in court costs.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident at work, speak to us. We are workplace injury solicitors and have been helping employees with their workplace injury claims for over 35 years.

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