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Incineration firm fined after worker burnt with hot ash

12:03pm Tuesday 1st May 2012

By Mark Chandler

A COMPANY which runs New Cross’s incinerator has been criticised for
failing to protect a vulnerable worker who was severely burned with hot

City of London Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee sustained 17
per cent burns whilst cleaning ash from a filtration hopper at Veolia
Environmental Services’ Landmann Way plant on December 29 2009.

Ash fell onto him after he went into the hopper and started prodding it
with a rod to clear a blockage. The burns he sustained left him
hospitalised for a month.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the
incident found Veolia did not follow its own policies and procedures for
the management of dangerous tasks, putting a vulnerable worker at risk
by failing to provide him with adequate information or supervision.

The court heard the eastern European employee spoke little English and
had not been properly briefed in the plant’s working practices.

Veolia pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and
was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £12,243 costs.

After the April 27 hearing, HSE inspector Kerry Williams said: “The
victim was a vulnerable worker who should have been protected whilst
working for Veolia.

“However, he wasn’t provided with the basic information, training or
supervision to allow him to complete his job safely. As a result he was
badly exposed and he sustained severe burns in an incident that could
easily have been avoided.

“Veolia operates a high hazard site and as such should ensure its
systems are sufficiently robust to ensure people are not placed at
unnecessary risk.”

A Veolia spokesman said: “We deeply regret this incident and the
injuries sustained by the person concerned and immediately put in place
changes to our operating procedures to further improve our safety
systems relating to any work carried out by contractors on site.

“As a company we are committed to the highest standards of health and
safety and this remains our first priority as is evidenced by continual
improvements in our safety performance.”


© Copyright 2001-2012 Newsquest Media Group

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