Saturday, 20 August 2016

Alcohols Limited fined £295,000 after an employee was engulfed in flames.

Alcohols Limited, a distillery in Oldbury was fined £295,000 (inc.costs) after an employee was engulfed in flames in a fire that destroyed the warehouse and its contents.
The circumstances were:
  • On 26 November 2012, ethyl acetate, which is a highly flammable liquid, was being transferred from a bulk storage tank into an intermediate bulk container.
  • There was poor maintenance of pipework and associated valves. 
  • There was a failure to competently inspect the equipment or monitor the systems of work.
  • This ignited, possibly caused by a discharge of static electricity generated by the transfer of the liquid.
  • 21-year-old employee was engulfed in flames. 
  • He sustained twenty percent burns to his head, neck and hands.
  • The fire destroyed the warehouse and caused damage to nearby cars and houses. 

The HSE inspector said:
“Companies that fail to ensure the integrity of their safety critical equipment place their employees, members of the public, emergency services and their entire livelihood at risk of serious harm. 
Poor management of highly flammable liquids can have catastrophic results both for individuals and businesses.”

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