Company fined after employee suffers severe burns

A County Durham firm has been fined £7.500 after a worker was struck by a jet of hot molten plastic, suffering serious burns to his face, hand and arm.

John Calcutt was working with a large plastic injection moulding machine at Ebac Ltd, in Newton Aycliffe, when the incident happened on September 9th last year.

The 47-year-old employee was splashed across the left side of his body as the plastic was ejected from the machine.

He was airlifted from the scene by emergency services and remained in hospital for three days. He is still receiving treatment and physiotherapy, but has since returned to work at the manufacturer.

Following an investigation into the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company for serious safety failings

Ebac Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and, apart from the fines, has been ordered to pay £770 in costs and a £750 victim surcharge.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Victoria Wise, said: “This incident could have been easily prevented if Ebac Ltd had a safe system of work in place for dealing with blockages.

“The potential for ejection of hot molten plastic is highlighted in the industry’s own guidance and this was a foreseeable risk that should have been part of the risk assessment process for clearing blockages.

“The company should have also had monitoring in place to ensure that its employees were using the appropriate personal protective equipment that had been provided. Instead, the firm’s failures mean a worker has suffered serious injuries.”

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