UK Firm Fined After Employee's Burns

The worker suffered serious burns to his face, hand, and arm when he was hit by a jet of hot molten plastic.

Britain's Health & Safety Executive announced Oct. 27 that Ebac Ltd has pleaded guilty and been fined in a case where an employe, John Calcutt, 47, suffered serious burns while trying to clear a jam in an injection molding machine in September 2013. A jet of molten plastic struck the left side of his face and his left hand and arm.

He was airlifted to a hospital and stayed there three days. He is still receiving treatment and physiotherapy but has returned to work, according to HSE.

The agency's investigation found that, at the start of the day's shift, a blockage was identified at the machine's injection unit, where the raw material is fed into the machine, melted and mixed before being pumped into the mold. Calcutt and two co-workers tried to clear it, but Calcutt had not received any training to accomplish this, and they were not wearing any eye or face protection. HSE found that Ebac Ltd had not carried out a hazard assessment.

"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," HSE Inspector Victoria Wise said. "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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