A Yorkshire company which specialises in oil and environmental services has been fined £25,000 following a tanker explosion in which two men suffered serious burn injuries.
Adler & Allan Ltd, of Station Parade, Harrogate, was also ordered to pay costs of £8,166 after it admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The two workers had used the tanker to remove fuel from pumps at a police station in Manchester and had dropped off the waste petrol before the incident happened on March 5, 2013.
They then returned to the company’s site on Harcourt Street in Walkden, reversed it into the yard, opened its rear door and began to use a pressure washer gun to clean out the inside.
Explosion caused horrific injuries
As they did so, the tanker exploded, engulfing both men and causing a fire that destroyed part of a nearby building.
One of the employees suffered serious injuries to his face, while the other – a 32-year-old man from Eccles who wished to remain anonymous – suffered life-changing burn injuries that left him critically ill.
He received four skin grafts during a three-and-a-half-month stay in hospital, is unable to expose his skin to direct sunlight and will probably never be able to work again.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the incident and decided to bring the prosecution against Adler & Allan Ltd after finding that the company’s procedure for cleaning the tanker had been unsafe.
Company ‘failed to ensure safety’
Manchester Crown Court heard that opening the tanker door had caused petrol vapour to escape into the yard, reacting with either a spark from the pressure washer or another source of ignition to cause the explosion.
HSE inspector David Norton said the two men suffered horrific injuries because Adler & Allan Ltd failed to ensure the pair were safe.
The company’s risk assessment did not identify “fire or explosion as a potential danger”, he added, although the company had experience with flammable substances.
Mr Norton said the firm now uses a specialist contractor for the procedure.
Claiming burn injury compensation
If you have suffered a burn injury which was somebody else’s fault in the last three years, you could be eligible to make a claim for personal injury compensation.
Accident Advice Helpline can provide you with access to a specialist burn injury solicitor from our nationwide legal team, every one of whom works on a ‘no win, no fee*’ basis.
Complete our claim form and one of our highly trained advisers will call you back. Alternatively, call us at a time that suits you on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone.