A vehicle component manufacturer has been fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,374 after two employees suffered burns whilst cleaning a distillation tank. The injured people were burnt when the vapour of a flammable chemical, which was being used to clean the distillation tank part of a component washer, ignited and caused an explosion. Both suffered significant burn injuries, with one so badly hurt that they could not return to work for over two months.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident found that no risk assessment had been undertaken for the procedure of cleaning the distillation tank and that no safe system of work had been put in place. The investigation also found that no planning had been undertaken for the use of the flammable chemical during the cleaning activity.