• Robert Spicer

Paper coating machine fire: worker seriously injured

Fire on paper coating machine: £16,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Olympic Varnish Company (2017) Portsmouth magistrates’ court, August 17

Statutory reference: regulation 6 of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

The facts

· In July 2015 an employee of Olympic Varnish Company, a paper coating company, used a highly-flammable liquid to clean rollers on a coating machine.

· The liquid ignited and the worker suffered severe burn injuries.

· The company had not ensured that risks from the use of highly flammable liquids had been eliminated or reduced.

The decision

The company was fined £16,000 plus £4500 costs under regulation 6 of DSEAR.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that if a suitable safe system of work had been in place before the incident, the serious injuries suffered by the employee could have been prevented.

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