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Worcester factory failed to protect workers despite previous accidents

Posted: January 30th, 2012 by Dermot comment-icon Comments disabled

There is little point in carrying out a risk assessment unless the findings will be acted upon. This seems like an obvious comment to make, and yet a factory in Worcester failed to act on the findings of one of its own risk assessments of a die-cast machine.

Blow backs of molten aluminium are foreseeable, although unpredictable, and they represent a grave danger to those working on or around the machine. The factory in question had experienced three blow backs by July 2010, including one case of serious injury, and although an internal investigation had been carried out, the recommendations were not implemented.

So, despite the previous accident seven months earlier, the machine still represented a risk when one operator was sprayed with molten metal at 650°C. The man suffered severe burns to his arm, shoulder, leg and face, as the eye protection and protective clothing he was wearing were not capable of protecting him. He has been left with permanent scarring which requires on-going treatment.

Health and safety training should equip those responsible with the skills needed to identify potential risks, but also with those needed to implement and maintain safety measures.

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