A Rochdale fabric firm has been given a £10,000 fine after an employee fell into a vat of industrial bleach, suffering severe chemical burns over most of his body.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the 47-year-old man from Shaw suffered serious chemical burns to his lips, arms, chest, groin and legs, as well as a large cut to his eyebrow and nose.
He was on top of a bleach container trying to free some cloth that had jammed the machine when the accident happened.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that workers regularly climbed on the bleach containers to attend the machine as there was no safe system for using the bleaching equipment involved.
The man had to be airlifted to Wythenshawe Burns Unit after the accident and has had to spend three months off work due to the extent of his injuries.
No safe work system
PW Greenhalgh and Co Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after their investigation revealed the lack of any safety precautions regarding the bleach and bleaching equipment, with no risk assessments being carried out.
Workers were found to have frequently climbed on the containers of dangerous bleach, which didn’t have lids, handrails or any other precautions to prevent a fall.
PW Greenhalgh and Co Ltd, of Newhey Bleach Works in Newhey, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £718 in prosecution costs.
The company has since updated its safety procedures, bringing them up to the standard required by safety legislation and the HSE.