30 October 2013
Man paralysed after fuel tank explosion
A Heyshem-based firm has been fined after a man suffered horrific injuries in a fuel tank explosion in 2011.
Karol Robaczewski was cleaning a 20,000 litre fuel tank at Fuel Proof's site on September 9th when he was engulfed by a massive fireball that ultimately left him almost completely paralysed.
Preston Crown Court was told the 38-year-old Morecambe resident cleaned the tank using a highly flammable solvent.
Hot weather led Mr Robaczewski to turn off a lamp after the container he was wiping down became too hot, but as he did this, a spark caused fumes to ignite - shooting as far as two meters above the manhole cover.
A Health and Safety Executive investigation found Fuel Proof did not carry out any kind of risk assessment and this led inspectors to take the decision to prosecute the firm.
Fuel Proof was fined £66,000 and told to pay £25,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
By Chris Stevenson
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