• Robert Spicer

Ebbw Vale factory explosion: worker injured: £40,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Sears Manufacturing Company (Europe) Ltd (2016) Cwmbran magistrates’ court, April 22

Sears Manufacturing, a vehicle seat manufacturing company, has been fined after a worker suffered burns in an explosion.

Significant points of the case

  • In January 2015 an operator at the company’s site in Ebbw Vale was working with a highly flammable release agent, used to prevent dispensed foam sticking to seat moulds.

  • The release agent ignited and exploded. The operator suffered burns to his head and hands.

  • A failure to have suitable control measures in place caused the release agent to ignite.

The company was fined £40,000 plus £12,000 costs for breaches of regulations 5, 6 and 9, Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

DSEAR aims to protect people from fires and explosions arising from dangerous substances in the workplace. The regulations create a duty on employers to ensure that risks of fire and explosion arising from dangerous substances are assessed thoroughly and either eliminated or reduced so far as is reasonably practicable.

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