An automotive company has been fined £100,000 after an employee was splashed with metalworking fluids, causing an allergic reaction.
On 24 April 2019, the worker was cleaning out a grinding machine at a manufacturing site in Thatcham, Berkshire, when the fluid splashed on their face and upper body.
They developed an allergic form of dermatitis consisting of experienced a painful burning sensation, and inflamed, broken and oozing skin, Reading Magistrates' Court was told.
As a permanent allergy, even small quantities of this substance can result in a further serious reaction. The employee received medical advice that they could no longer continue in their job as it was a risk to their health.
Health and Safety at Executive (HSE) investigators found that the employer, Xtrac Ltd, had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify the potential for exposure to the hazardous chemicals.
The company, which designs and manufactures transmission systems for motorsport and high performance vehicles, had not implemented necessary controls to prevent skin contact. This was particularly important in this case as the company was already aware the employee had a history of dermatitis.
Xtrac admitted breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. As well as the fine, it was ordered to pay costs of £639.
'Dermal risks from metalworking fluids are well known within industry and there are simple and effective controls available to prevent contact with the skin,' said HSE inspector Ashley Hall.
'This serious health condition could have been prevented if the company had carried out the required risk assessment and implemented the necessary control measures, including suitable personal protective equipment, particularly gloves.'