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Explosion leads to serious burns for three employees.


Personal Hygiene  Services (PHS) Limited pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to a Health and Safety breach and has been fined £150,000.00 after three workers suffered serious injuries in an explosion. Three employees suffered serious burns in October 2010 when 150 aerosol cans were put in a nearby shredder at Burscough Industrial Estate. PHS said that the incident was of “great regret” and changes had been made.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the employees were “caught in a fire ball” and surrounding buildings were evacuated while fire fighters dealt with the blaze.  Almost 60 Police officers were deployed to oversee road closures and a cordon around the site.

The incident was investigated jointly by the HSE and the Environment Agency.  The investigation found that PHS had no procedure for checking the contents of boxes of waste materials delivered to the site.  A risk assessment carried out in April 2010 was found to be wholly inadequate after the company wrongly identified the risk of aerosols being added to the shredder as “very unlikely”.

Principal HSE Inspector, Neil Rothwell, said “The chemical waste industry has the potential to be extremely hazardous, and PHS could and should have done more to protect the lives of its employees and the public.  The explosion and fire led to three workers being seriously injured and caused considerable disruption in the local area”.

Kim Daniells of the CNCI team said “This incident led to very serious injuries.  It is fortunate that no lives were lost.  Although it is undoubtedly the case that the United Kingdom is a much safer place to worker than 50 years ago, it is clear that there are still hazards in and around the workplace.  The work of the HSE in investigating incidents in the workplace, and promoting safer working environments is absolutely crucial”.