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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
February 6, 2006

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Respirator helped save solvent sprayer from more severe injuries

South Staffordshire Protective Coatings (SSPC), a company that treats and coats large vessels, pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of HSWA 1974 following an incident in which one of its employees sustained 35 per cent burns to his body in a solvent explosion.

It was fined £6500 by West Bromwich magistrates on 19 December for the breach and ordered to pay a contribution towards HSE costs of £5000.

The court heard that on 12 August 2004, at the firm’s Tipton workshop, coatings operative Neil Cook had been spraying the inside of a three-by-two-metre water vessel with a highly flammable epoxy coating to render it watertight.

The court was told that neither Mr Cook’s spraying equipment nor the vessel were earthed. As the particles of solvent came out of the spray gun, static electricity was generated, which built up into a spark, igniting the solvent and the full contents of the vessel. A jet of flame shot across the workshop out of the manhole in the vessel and burned for around 30 seconds.

Had Mr Cook not been wearing an air-fed mask, or if it had been knocked off, he would have inhaled burning vapour and may have died, Gareth Langston, the HSE inspector who investigated the case, told SHP. He suffered first and second-degree burns to his shoulders and neck.

The company said in mitigation that it was in a poor financial state but had since spent a substantial amount on rectifying matters. It has since refused to take on work of a similar nature.

Inspector Langston said: “Both the vessel and the paint spraying apparatus should have been earthed. The case sends out a message that when working either with flammable liquids or in confined spaces, it is very important to consider the risks in advance and take appropriate precautions.”


Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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