• Robert Spicer

Worker suffers severe cement burns: successful health and safety prosecution

Cement burns: £14,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v DLP Services (Northern) Ltd (2015) Sefton magistrates’ court, November 25

DLP Services (Northern) Ltd, a construction company, has been fined following a worker suffering severe cement burns.

Significant points of the case

  • In November 2014 an employee of the company knelt in wet concrete to manually finish concrete flooring being laid in a bungalow. He suffered severe cement burns to his knees and was hospitalised for 12 days.

  • The company had failed to adequately assess the risks and to implement suitable and sufficient control measures to protect workers from contact of wet concrete with the skin. It had not provided PPE (personal protective equipment) and there were no welfare facilities on site.

  • The company had previously been served with improvement notices for lack of welfare facilities.

The company was fined £14,000 plus £1590 costs for breaches of regulation 22 (1), Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and regulation 7(1), Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH).

An HSE inspector commented after the case that the injuries suffered by the worker had been entirely foreseeable and avoidable if the company had implemented suitable controls, for example the use of long-handled tools or the provision of suitable chemical resistant PPE. It was also wholly unreasonable to expect workers to travel four miles to find welfare facilities.

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