The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted an electricity power station company after three maintenance contractors were injured by a sudden release of water and sludge while carrying out work on a recirculation pump.
On 18 January 2018, the men contracted by Keadby Generation Ltd were removing a pump for maintenance in the Flue Gas Desulphurisation area of Fiddlers Ferry Power Station in Warrington, Cheshire.
About 38.5m3 of diluted slurry and associated stored energy was released while the pump was being removed, knocking the workers off the concrete plinth they were standing on. The trio sustained multiple fracture injuries.
Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that the pressurised contents of the pump and associated pipework had not been discharged before work started because the drain pipe was blocked. This meant the stored energy released during the removal of the pump instead of during the isolation process.
HSE investigators told the court that Keadby Generation Ltd had failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the hazards and risks associated with the work and had not implemented a safe system of work.
The Scunthorpe firm pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £200,000 plus prosecution costs of £7,163.