Monday, 29 June 2015

Staffordshire company fined over £800,000 after second death in a confined space.

John Pointon & Sons Ltd., was fined £847,632 (inc. costs) after a worker died during confined space work in an industrial cooker.
The circumstances were:
  • John Pointon & Sons Ltd., had failed to put in place a safe system of work in confined spaces.
  • This was despite another employee being killed in a confined space at the same site in 2004.
  • The company had not properly considered the risks of entering the cooker.
  • The company did not competently manage the work as it was taking place.
  • On 5 November 2011, self-employed contractor Mark Bullock was carrying out repairs inside the cooker.
  • While he was inside, steam from elsewhere in the system fed into the area where he was working. 
  • He was badly scalded and died in hospital the following day from his injuries.

The HSE inspector said:
“The cookers in operation at the company form the core part of the business. Steam and hot vapours getting into the cookers from other connected pieces of equipment is foreseeable, and precautions should have been taken to ensure all avenues which had the potential to allow steam to be fed back into the cooker had been suitably isolated. 
John Pointon and Sons Ltd failed to do this and it cost Mark Bullock his life. Work in confined spaces can be extremely dangerous, which John Pointon & Sons Ltd were fully aware of having already had a fatality at the site. Companies must identify what measures should be taken to ensure the safety of their workforce. I would urge any company that carries out work in confined spaces to double check their procedures.”

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