02 November 2015
Employers Blasted for Hydrogen Explosion
A hydrogen explosion in Widnes saw a vessel lid fly with such speed and power that it went through a factory roof.
The accident at work happened at CatAlloy, where they produce precious metal catalysts, after a modification to one of their reactors. The reactor in question was fitted with a new seal in order to stop air getting in. During production, the pressure increases inside equipment. CatAlloy did not factor in the increased pressure their equipment would experience during their production process. This serious oversight resulted in a powerful hydrogen explosion the first day after the modification was made.
What’s scary is that even though the explosion blew a hole in the roof it could have been much worse. I work on a lot of serious cases where workers have sustained life-changing injuries and this accident could’ve easily been one of them. It was lucky that no one got seriously hurt in this explosion. The chemical industry has some major hazards and if these risks are not controlled it can lead to workers suffering serious injuries. As CatAlloy is in a business of working with substances that possess such dangerous potential on a daily basis, they must ensure that their workers are adequately protected.
In this incident, one worker suffered cuts to their hand and back, just minor injuries. But there is no doubt that this explosion had the potential to fatally injure someone. The lid was blown off the reactor and it blasted a hole through the factory’s corrugated roof and flew into the car park next door. The Health and Safety Executive found the dangerous explosion to be the employer’s fault. They pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety Act because they failed to keep their workers safe.
Matthew Tomlinson is a Senior Personal Injury Lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Sheffield.
If you have suffered a serious injury, the Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon can help you to get the compensation you deserve with no financial risk to yourself. We can provide immediate representation and rehabilitation services anywhere in the UK. For a free consultation call us on freephone 0800 112 4491 or contact us online.