Leicester Magistrates heard that a 21-year-old in-experienced agency worker, on his first day of full time employment, was exposed to alkaline cement slurry by standing in a drainage pit with inadequate PPE. He suffered burns to his feet and ankles and required plastic surgery with his feet and lower legs being scarred for life. He was in hospital for three weeks.
An investigation by the HSE into the incident which occurred in April ’14 in Stoney Stanton found that the company had not appreciated that slurry from cured concrete dust posed the same risks as that from cement or wet uncured concrete. They had no risk assessment for the slurry or suitable and sufficient controls to eliminate, reduce or control the risks. A mechanical system to remove slurry from the water pit would have prevented these life changing injuries. The worker said in court:
“…a year after the accident my feet are scarred. My right foot is worse than my left. I find it difficult still to walk. I don’t know how my feet will improve in the long term. I wouldn’t like anyone to go through what I have had to go through…”.
Stressline Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the HASAWA, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £2,121 costs.
Dr Richenda Dixon (HSE inspector) said after the hearing:
“…the risks from concrete and cement are well known in this industry. Companies need to protect agency workers as they are as likely to have injures in the first six months of employment as in the rest of their working lives…”
As seen on the HSE Website on 14 January 2016