Workers Suffer Serious Burns In Machine Malfunction

Company Fined Over Safety Failings


The prosecution of Nestle Purina in relation to an accident at work in which five employees suffered serious burns has highlighted the importance of risk assessments, according to an expert at Irwin Mitchell.

Five men were undertaking maintenance work on a food processing machine at the company’s Wisbech plant when they were struck by an uncontrolled release of steam and boiling water which left them with burns to their faces, arms and hands.

An investigation into the 2006 industrial accident revealed that the control systems on the machine were replaced before the maintenance work began, but no risk assessment of the modifications was completed.

Nestle Purina was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £22,000 after admitting to breaching safety regulations.

David Urpeth, national head of workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office, said: “Cases like this demonstrate why so much importance is placed on risk assessments in working environments.

“A full examination of the potential consequences of the changes could have highlighted the problems which led to the release and meant that the work accident might have been prevented.

“Companies simply cannot afford to shy away from their responsibilities for the welfare of their workers and I hope that prosecutions like this help to drive home the message that health and safety needs to be a priority.”