Archive for March, 2014

Coal Briquette Factory Prosecuted After Employees Burned in Work Accident

March 31st, 2014 | By licnewsadmin

Maxibrite, a company that manufactures coal briquettes, has been prosecuted for breaching the Health and Safety and Work etc Act 1974, resulting in two of their employees being burned in a fire at their workplace.

The accident occurred on the 16th December 2012, when a fire started in a tower that held a rotary drier on the Maxibrite manufacturing plant in Llantrisant. Simon Gilbody attempted to dampen the flames by hosing the tower with water, but when these efforts failed he and a fellow employee Carl Lewis tried to dislodge any obstructions in the tower by opening an inspection hatch at the base of the tower.

When Mr Lewis opened the hatch, a shower of burning coals and hot cinders fell out of it and onto Mr Gilbody, a work manager on the plant, burning his neck, face and chest. Mr Lewis, too, was burned by the incident and a skin graft was undertaken to try and treat his severe burns. Mr Gilbody’s burns were not as serious as those inflicted upon his colleague, and luckily he did not need to be admitted to hospital after the initial emergency medical care he received at the scene.

The Health and Safety Executive conducted an inspection into the circumstances of the accident, and it was uncovered that the men’s employer, Maxibrite, had neglected to carry out a risk assessment on the tower for a risk of fire, and had not instructed their employees on any safety procedures should a fire happen to break out. Additionally, no training had been supplied to the employees concerning the use of fire safety equipment.

The HSE proceeded to prosecute the coal briquette manufacturers for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. The company plead guilty to the charges brought against them at the Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court. The magistrates fined Maxibrite £20,000 for their negligence, resulting in injuries to people in their employ, and ordered them to pay £5,115 in costs.

HSE Inspector Steve Lewis stated after the hearing that the men injured could have sustained worse injuries, yet still urged all employers to enforce proper fire safety procedures.

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