A Hartlepool-based food ingredients company has been fined after an employee was scalded by hot cleaning solution whilst working on an industrial cooking vessel.
Elver Alicarte, then 38, from Hartlepool, was attempting to re-attach an end cap to pipework leading from a cooking vessel, which was being cleaned using a very hot cleaning solution.
Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard on 24th November the end cap was likely to have been removed earlier to allow workers access to remove bones and other organic matter from the pipework. Unaware that Mr Alicarte was closing the pipework, a colleague operated a switch to open the outlet valve, releasing hot cleaning fluid down the pipe and over his arm.
Mr Alicarte was taken to a walk-in centre with a serious scald injury to his right forearm. He was unable to return for two weeks and had temporary limited movement of his arm.
Kerry Ingredients (UK) Ltd, of Parkview East Industrial Estate, Hartlepool, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £8,950.20 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and breaching regulations 8(1) and 19(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the case, HSE Inspector Jonathan Wills said: "Mr Alicarte’s painful injury could and should have been avoided. The activity that Mr Alicarte was involved in was a frequent process and the company should have properly assessed the risks involved in the task and put simple control measures in place to prevent injury. This should have included a procedure to prevent the valve holding the scalding hot cleaning solution from being inadvertently opened whilst people were close by."
For more information about working safely in the catering and food preparation industries visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/food/