Company fined £200,000 after three workers suffer burns caused by explosion in a furnace
WEIR Minerals Europe Ltd have been fined £200,000 after three workers were injured by an explosion in a furnace. The men sustained burns while operating the furnace at the manufacturing firm’s site on Halifax Road in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, on 25 February 2020.
The workers had been melting a large amount of steel when an explosion took place. It had most likely been caused by water entering the furnace while they were adding the scrap metal. The three men suffered burns to their faces, heads, and backs. There was also resulting damage to the surrounding equipment.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Weir Minerals Europe were aware of the risk associated with wet scrap metal being added to the furnace. However, the protection from rain that was in place at the time of the incident was not adequately implemented and maintained.
Weir Minerals Europe, who pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, were fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £6,095 in costs at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court on 5 September 2023.
HSE inspector Jackie Ferguson commented: ‘This was a serious incident that could so easily have been avoided. Companies should be aware that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.’