An oil storage company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,000 after contractors cut into a sealed pipe causing a tank to explode. The pipe, which was attached to a vessel, was being used as part of a waste oil recovery process. Flammable gases within the pipe ignited, resulting in the lid of the tank detaching due to pressure build up.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company was having difficulty with the waste oil recovery process which was foaming out of the vessel and filling its bund. Rather than dealing with the issue directly, a decision was taken to connect the vessel to an emergency relief dump tank to collect further foaming and this created a flammable atmosphere within the dump tank and connecting relief pipework.
Speaking after the hearing an HSE inspector said “Even though nobody was injured this incident could have been prevented if the work of the contractors had been controlled. The contractors were given a very basic induction and were not told about the process work being carried out and how it could impact on them. HSE has brought this prosecution because a failure took place that could have resulted in death or serious injury and we believe every person should be healthy and safe at work.”
A steel company was fined £930,000 and ordered to pay costs of £70,000 after the release, in June 2011, of toxic and flammable substances from its site on Humberside. The court heard that a large quantity of Benzole was released at an open site glass. The release resulted in a large flammable vapour cloud. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to take the appropriate safety measures to prevent the release of the toxic and flammable chemical. It was found the company failed to address the risks which had previously been identified and the incident could have been entirely avoided if the company addressed these concerns.
A Manchester engineering firm has been fined £120,000 with £7,241 costs for failing to control the risk to employees using hand held power tools from Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). An HSE inspector said: “This is a case of the company failing to protect workers using vibrating tools. Exposure to hand arm vibration is a well-known risk which the company failed to adequately control. The company also failed to ensure workers were looked after when symptoms did arise leading to further exposure”