Two employees suffered burns injuries when hot water escaped from the top of a dairy farm’s 600-litre tank.
Meadow Foods Ltd has been fined £54,000 following the incident on October 26, 2011.
One worker, 35, sustained burns throughout her body and spent a week in the specialist burns unit at Whiston Hospital. The other worker, 22, suffered burns to his left arm, head and lower back, and also required hospital attention.
The company, which processes milk, cream and butter, employs 100 people at its plant in Marlston-cum-lache in Cheshire.
Staff burnt by hot water
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Meadow Foods at Chester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, March 6 following an investigation into the work accident.
It found the firm’s system for cleaning the tank did not meet minimum legal standards.
The cleaning process needed a complex sequence of valve changes on the tank. But there were no written instructions or diagrams on how to do this, the court heard.
The firm had failed to identify fundamental risks such as burns from hot water or the build-up of pressure.
The unnamed employees were cleaning the tank when the male worker from Chester opened one of the valves. This released compressed air that had accumulated inside the pipes into the tank itself, forcing the hot water out.
The water, which was over 70 degrees Celsius (158F), cascaded down on the pair, severely scalding them both.
Chester-based Meadow Foods Ltd was also told to pay costs of £18,553 after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Source: Dairy Reporter
Date Published: March 11, 2014
Author: David Brown