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Scottish Firm fined after Employee is Burned

A Scottish Firm located in Moray, Scotland has been fined £6,666 following one of its employees being burned in a flash fire.

The employee who was aged 49 at the time of the incident, was burned as he opened the door to a shed where a pressure washer was kept. Upon opening the door, the smoke inside ignited which quickly burned the employee. He had approached said shed after seeing smoke escaping.

Whilst colleagues did put the fire out quickly, the employee was hospitalised for eight days and couldn't work for two months.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the pressure washer had been left running to try and defrost it, but it was wrongly left unattended in the shed and proper safety procedures were not followed. The firm was aware that the pressures washer was only to be used in well-ventilated areas, however, the firm had failed realise that the shed did not provide safe conditions.

The HSE investigation also uncovered that the Moray firm was aware that parts of the pressure washer has a problem with freezing and that there wasn't a safe way for defrosting same in cold weather. Despite this, the firm employed unsafe working practices to assist with defrosting.

The Scottish firm plead guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which resulted in the fine mentioned above being imposed.

Commenting on the matter and the imposition of the fine, The Health & Safety Executive's Principal Inspector, Niall Miller, stated:

"This was an entirely avoidable incident. The need for ventilation to prevent such incidences of combustion is well known and was acknowledged and documented by the company itself. Making sure this happened would have been straightforward.

"Sadly, the failure ... to follow its own written risk management led to an employee suffering burn injuries and trauma as a result of poor planning."

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