A 21-year-old man was left requiring plastic surgery after being seriously burnt by alkaline slurry during his first day of full-time work, a court has been told.
Leicester Magistrates’ Court fined Stressline Limited £12,000 and ordered it to pay £2,121 in costs after the building products maker admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The court heard that the agency worker was exposed to the slurry when he stood in a drainage pit without adequate protective equipment.
Worker suffered chemical burns
The accident at work happened at Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire, in April 2014, leaving the man with chemical burns on his ankles and feet. Magistrates heard he had to spend three weeks in hospital and has been left with permanent scars on his lower legs and feet.
In a statement given to the court he said he still has difficulty walking and does not know whether there will be any long-term improvements.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation established, the court was told, that Stressline Limited did not realise that cured concrete dust slurry poses the same dangers as slurry from wet uncured concrete or cement.
‘Risks are well known’
The accident could have been avoided by using a mechanical system to take slurry out of the drainage pit. But they were told the firm had not carried out a risk assessment for the slurry and did not have sufficient controls in place to control or eliminate the risks it posed.
Following the court case, HSE inspector Dr Richenda Dixon said the risks posed by cement and concrete are well known. The inspector added that it is vital that firms provide agency workers with protection when they are at work.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: January 19, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown