09 April 2015
Flash Fire Leaves Employee with Burn Injuries and Trauma
A flash fire erupted in a shed because of unsafe working procedures. The unattended pressure washer was left running in a shed in Moray with the lance and hose unattached. So when Norman Thompson spotted smoke escaping from the shed and went to open the door a flash fire swept over him as the dense smoke from inside ignited.
Mr Thompson was badly burned as a result. He was unable to return to work for the next two months and was hospitalised for eight days. His injuries could have been worse were it not for his colleagues. They extinguished the flames on his back and helped him to put his hands in cold water. Unfortunately the on-going trauma he experienced led to an additional period of time off work three years later.
Despite having access to manufacturer’s instructions and having a safe working procedure for the pressure washer written down Ravenhill Limited were at fault for this Accident at Work. The machine selling company knew the pressure washer should only be used in a well-ventilated area. Yet the wash hose was often used to prop the shed door open because there was no ventilation in there.
Besides using the pressure washer in an unsuitable environment other unsafe working practices to defrost the lance and hose had begun to form. These included pouring boiling water over them and disconnecting them from the body of the machine.
Not servicing or maintaining machinery in the proper way can lead to serious injuries in the workplace. It’s an employer’s duty to ensure that all equipment in the workplace is in working order and that employees are fully trained so that they can use the equipment properly.
Ravenhill Limited was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and fined £6,666. The accident could have been avoided if the employer followed their own risk management policy and placed the pressure washer in an appropriate, well-ventilated area. It will be of little comfort to Mr Thompson to know that better planning could have prevented him suffering from trauma and burn injuries.
If you have been injured in an accident at work through no fault of your own contact Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 916 9046 or alternatively contact us online and we will call you back.
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