A horticultural firm has been fined £80,000 after a pressurised tank at a nursery exploded, killing a 67-year-old worker.
Three other members of staff were seriously injured in the incident at Bradon Farm, Isle Abbots, in May 2010, Taunton Crown Court heard.
Serious head injuries
Peter James, who died from severe head injuries six days after the accident, and his colleagues were attempting to open the tank, which was used to heat greenhouses, as part of upgrade work at Cantelo Nurseries.
But because there was still pressure in the system, a hatch cover which two of the workers had been asked to unbolt was sent flying across the room, with a large jet of water also knocking the workers off their feet.
Arek Kuchczynski, 29, suffered injuries to his head and skull, leaving him unconscious for two weeks, as well as damage to his forearm, which required three operations and a skin graft.
Roger Mees, 43, also suffered serious head trauma including a broken jaw, heavy bruising to his face, damage to his teeth, black eyes and cuts to his nose and lip, while 25-year-old Radoslau Dimitov suffered a fractured arm.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the work was lacking a proper plan and precautionary measures and that the workers had not been trained or supervised to carry out the task.
As well as the fine, Cantelo Nurseries was ordered to pay £59,812 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation.
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Date Published: October 30, 2014
Author: David Brown