Dearne Valley chemical firm fined £100,000

Dearne Valley chemical firm fined £100,000

By Michael Upton | 04/08/2021

Dearne Valley chemical firm fined £100,000

 

AN OIL and chemicals company has been fined £100,000 after a worker suffered severe burns to his arms and leg while handling hazardous material.

Goldthorpe-based Granville Oil & Chemical Company was prosecuted by Health and Safety Executive over the incident at its premises in 2016, when the man was left needing hospital treatment after being burned while making degreaser.

An investigation found the company, based at Goldthorpe Industrial Estate, did not have procedures in place for decontamination after spillages.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard that on September 27, 2016, the worker had been blending ultra-concentrate — a chemical liquid used to make degreaser — with water.

He used a forklift truck to lift a container carrying 1,000 litres of ultra-concentrate in order to decant 250 litres of it into three containers on the ground, each of which contained 750 litres of water. 

An HSE spokesperson said: “The company had specifically manufactured a rigid metal pipe to transfer the concentrate from one container to another. 

“As he drove the forklift truck into position, the forks of the truck suddenly dropped one or two feet. 

“This caused the metal transfer pipe to hit the ground and break. 

“Ultra-concentrate began to cascade out of the container.

“Having exited the cab of the forklift truck, the worker put his hand over the damaged valve to try and stem the flow. 

“A large pool of concentrate had already formed on the ground and he stood in it to reach the valve. 

“The worker suffered chemical burns to both arms and one leg, which required hospital treatment.”

The HSE investigation found the worker had no eye protection and his clothes were soaked in ultra-concentrate.

The worker’s only safety gear was safety boots, a high visibility vest and a pair of latex gloves, the court heard.

The HSE found that there was no drench shower on site and workers had been given no assistance or instructions to change from clothing or or how to wash properly in the event of contact with harmful substances.

Granville Oil & Chemical Company Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 with £9,928.60 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector David Coackley said: “The company had no systems in place for dealing with spillages and was not properly equipped to deal with the consequences of employees being contaminated with substances which might be harmful to their health.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”


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