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Company Fined After Worker Suffers Burns

Case Puts Risk Assessments In The Spotlight


An accident at work in which a worker suffered severe burns highlights why firms cannot ignore the importance of risk assessments, according to an expert at Irwin Mitchell.

O’Keefe Construction has been fined £20,000 following the industrial accident in October 2009, when an 18-year-old employee suffered burns to his legs, left arm and his hand after his clothes caught fire at a depot in Kent.

He was spray-painting a lighting tower when some thinner was spilt on his trousers. The clothing then caught fire when he walked close to a gas burner used to heat the workshop.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed a number of safety failings and also identified that the firm had completed a risk assessment but failed to implement any of the measures.

David Urpeth, national head of workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This case is tragic as this accident could so easily have been avoided had the employer acted on the findings of risk assessments.

“Lessons need to be learnt from this case and I hope that all firms take note of the serious dangers that can arise from ignoring the results of risk assessments.

“I hope that the fine imposed following this serious work accident will ensure that the same mistakes are not made in the future.”