Firm fined £15,000 after worker badly burned

A MANUFACTURING firm in Batley has been fined £15,000 after a worker was badly burned at work.

Kevin Hirst needed skin grafts and suffered permanent scarring following an accident at Batley Foundry Ltd on Warwick Road in August, 2014.

Bradford Crown Court heard Mr Hirst was wearing only a T-shirt and jeans when applying paint to a mould.

The coating process involved using a plastic bucket containing highly flammable isopropanol.

A colleague saw Mr Hirst holding a bucket which had 2ft flames coming out of it before he dropped it to the floor and “burning paint” went over him. Another colleague used a fire extinguisher but Mr Hirst suffered full thickness burns to parts of his body.

He was in hospital for four weeks and, while the firm tried to provide other work for him, he left the company and is now a delivery driver.

Batley Foundry Ltd admitted breaching health and safety regulations at an earlier hearing at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court.

Barrister John Cooper QC, for the company, said there was no previous history of offending or any enforcement notices.

He said bosses cooperated fully with the health and safety executive and had reacted properly since the accident.

Mr Cooper said the company now makes its own metal buckets with lids which can be closed in the event of fire.

They have also issued workers with fire retardant clothing for such work and refresher training.

Imposing the fine, Judge Colin Burn said keeping substances like isopropanol in plastic buckets near to work stations was “an unsatisfactory state of affairs”.

But he accepted the company had not been cutting corners and welcomed the steps taken subsequently.

The company will have to pay costs of £9,000.

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