Permanently scarred after an accident at work

Fine for employer after molten plastics accident

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is reminding employers of their responsibility to ensure their workers are fully protected after an employee was left permanently scarred after an accident at work when he was burned by molten plastic.

Forteq (UK) Limited of Tandem, Huddersfield has been fined £1,250 plus costs of £2,225 at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to a charge under Regulation 10(1) of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

The prosecution follows an incident on 20 June 2008 when an employee of the company suffered burn injuries as molten plastic sprayed onto him whilst he was stripping the barrel of an injection moulding machine He suffered severe burns to his face, neck and arms. The employee, who was not wearing eye, face or arm protection, remains visibly scarred.

HSE Inspector Andrea Jones said: “This case demonstrates the importance of employers not only providing suitable personal protective equipment for workers, but also ensuring its day-to-day use. In this case the company, failed to monitor the working practices of its employees and failed to ensure that the appropriate personal protection was being worn, this resulted in the burn injuries sustained by their employee. There were no written procedures or risk assessments in place before the incident which specified that face visors, long sleeve gauntlets and work overalls were necessary for this work. The employee was fortunate that the molten plastic did not spray into his eyes. This accident highlights the fact that just providing personal protective equipment to employees is not enough – employers must ensure it is worn through adequate training, monitoring, and supervision.”

After the incident HSE served an Improvement Notice requiring the company to implement a safe system for maintenance work on injection moulding machines where there is a risk of a person receiving burn injuries from molten plastic.

Forteq Ltd refused to comment on the incident. It is believed that the employee is currently seeking compensation for his accident at work .

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