Monday, 21 August 2017

Olympic Varnish fined £20,505 for flash fire

Paper and board coating company Olympic Varnish Company was fined £20,505 (inc.costs) after a worker suffered burns following a fire on a coating machine.
The circumstances were:
  • On 10th July 2015 the machine was being cleaned using solvent.
  • The factory doors were closed, meaning that highly flammable solvent fumes could accumulate.
  • There were exposed electrical conductors.
  • When a water spray was used during the cleaning operation, contact of water with the conductors caused a spark.
  • This spark ignited the fumes, causing a short-lived fire which cause burn injuries to the employee carrying out the cleaning operation.

The HSE inspector said:
“Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to inform, instruct, and train their workers in that safe system of working. In this case, if a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

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