Wednesday, 12 July 2017

HMG Paints fined £119,669 after electric floor scrubber ignited solvent fumes

Paint manufacturing company HMG Paints Ltd was fined £119,669.40 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered burns while cleaning the floor of a spray booth.
The circumstances were:
  • The employee was using a highly flammable solvent to clean the floor of a spray booth.
  • He had done several times since the spray booth was installed.
  • After complaints about how difficult it was to remove the dried paint he was allowed to purchase an industrial floor scrubber to carry out the task.
  • The planning for cleaning floors using solvent failed to recognise the hazards and level of risk associated with the use of highly flammable solvents to clean floors. 
  • No DSEAR assessment was carried out with respect to the use of this scrubber with these solvents.
  • The employee who was injured had not been trained to clean floors 
  • He was not adequately supervised when carrying out the cleaning activity.
  • On 18 November 2014 electric motor on the floor scrubber ignited the cloud of flammable vapour that had built up in the spray booth.
  • The employee was seriously injured, receiving 26% burns, and was treated at the specialist burns unit at Wythenshawe Hospital.

The HSE inspector said:
“This is a company that handles large quantities of flammable solvent, the hazards are well known and the company has a duty to control the risks arising from the hazards. It was custom and practice to clean floors using highly flammable solvents applied using a mop and bucket. In this instance the company failed to adequately control the risks and an employee was seriously injured.”

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