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Firm fined after young worker burned on first day

Building products maker Stressline has been fined after an inexperienced worker was badly burned on 28 April 2014. 
 

The 21-year-old worker was exposed to dangerous alkaline cement slurry when he stood in a drainage pit without suitable PPE
Image credit: ©iStock/Garsya

On his first day of full-time employment, the 21-year-old agency worker stood in a drainage pit wearing insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE). He was exposed to alkaline cement slurry and sustained chemical burns to his feet and ankles, resulting in the need for cosmetic surgery. 
 
The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation found the company had failed to recognise that slurry from cured concrete dust was just as dangerous as cement or wet uncured concrete. There was no risk assessment for the slurry and practices to control the risks had not been implemented. 
 
According to the HSE, the incident would have been prevented with a mechanical system to remove slurry from the pit.
 
At Leicester Magistrates’ Court, Stressline pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was find £12,000 and ordered to pay £2,121 in costs. 
 
After the hearing HSE inspector Dr Richenda Dixon 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."

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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