Lawford Kidd, Personal Injury Solicitors

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Firm prosecuted after workers set alight

A global packaging firm has been fined £90,000 after two workers suffered life-threatening injuries when they were engulfed by a fireball at a factory in Cumbria.

The two workers were about to clean debris from a damaged fuse box when a ball of fire shot out, setting their clothes alight.

The HSE investigation found that there had been a fire in the fuse box during the previous afternoon but live cables had been routed through it so the cooling equipment at the factory could continue to operate.

This meant the company, which has production sites in the UK, USA, Belgium and Australia, avoided having to shut down the plant for 36 hours to reset the machines.

The court was told that a suitable risk assessment had not been carried out for the work, and that management at the company had allowed it to go ahead without the electricity supply being isolated.

Innovia Films Ltd, which employs 850 people at its headquarters on West Street in Wigton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by putting workers' lives at risk. The company was ordered to pay £26,790 towards the cost of the prosecution in addition to the fine of £90,000 on 18th July 2011.

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