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Basingstoke Magistrates' Court was told that Poligrat UK employee Keith Brown, 51, was disposing of waste cleaning chemicals. He poured caustic pearl granules into the intermediate bulk container (IBC) used to store the chemicals to help neutralise them.
A chemical reaction occurred and the IBC became unstable and its contents erupted over Brown. He fell to the floor and his safety glasses blew off, resulting in alkaline burns to his eyelids and corneal ulcers. The worker's legs were also burned and grazed.
The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) investigation into the 13 February 2015 accident found the company's process for chemical disposal was not suitably or sufficiently risk assessed.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said: "The use of an IBC as a reaction vessel was wholly inappropriate -¦ They are not designed for use as a chemical reactor. Other safer reasonably practicable options were available, such as using a waste management company to remove and safely dispose of the chemicals."
Between 3.5 and 3.8 tonnes of paraquat dichloride solution leaked when a maintenance technician accidentally opened a valve on an ISO tank pressure vessel. The chemical, marketed by Syngenta under the name Gramoxone Max, is an irritant to the eyes and respiratory system.
A company owned by William Ryan Evans was contracted to build a drainage field with infiltration pipes laid at the bottom of deep trenches, Swansea Magistrates’ Court was told. The pipes, which were 10 cm in diameter and made of lightweight, perforated plastic, aid the distribution of treated effluent through the field.
As we reported earlier this week, Selig UK employee Thomas Jones’ arm was fractured in several places and he sustained muscle and nerve damage while trying to fix the company’s bespoke, 28 m laminating machine on 15 October 2013.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on a visit an HSE inspector found an employee at the bottom of the 3.5 m-deep unshored excavation and instructed him to exit immediately. There was also no edge protection around the top of the excavation to prevent people or objects falling into it. HSE inspectors had previously taken action on similar risks at other sites and still failed to ensure suitable and sufficient safe access to the site.
The employee’s left arm was caught between two rollers in October 2013 as he tried to fix a laminating machine. He sustained multiple fractures to his arm, as well as muscle and nerve damage. The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation found the risk assessment for the laminating machine was unsuitable and the company had not taken adequate measures to prevent access to dangerous moving parts.
The 36-year-old David Ashley Construction employee, originally from Romania, was working in a building under construction at De Montfort University. He was dismantling falsework when the accident happened on 15 June 2015. The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation and found there was an unsafe system of work and inadequate supervision.