A Bedfordshire waste operator has been fined £100,000 after two of its employees suffered burns while processing flammable aerosol containers.
Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 12 July 2016, two workers were dealing with the canisters using an industrial plastic shredder at the B&W Waste Management Services site in Thurleigh Road, Milton Ernest. The canisters were highly pressurised and, while using a gas operated forklift to lift them into a shredder, a spark from the forklift ignited a cloud of gas created by the shredded aerosols, leading to an explosion.
Both workers were injured and one suffered serious third degree burns which left him in an induced coma for 10 days, on a life support machine. The employee has undergone several operations and has been left with considerable permanent scarring and a lifelong dependency on medication for nerve pain.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the work was not suitably planned, not supervised by a competent person nor was it carried out in a safe manner. B&W Waste Management Services pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(1) of Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and was also ordered to pay costs of £11,603.