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Tyneside Firm Fined After Lack of PPE leads to Toxic Chemical Burns

Mr Reid suffered serious chemical burns to his legs and body after the hose connecting the tank and the drum, came off. He then spent two weeks in hospital and had to endure several skin grafts to help repair the damage.


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Michael Reid, a 66 year old Electroplater at DMI (UK) Ltd, was drenched in concentrated sodium hydroxide, a highly caustic substance used at the plant for stripping. The tank required occasional top ups, where drums of the concentrated chemical were pumped into the tank.
 
Mr Reid suffered serious chemical burns to his legs and body after the hose connecting the tank and the drum, came off. He then spent two weeks in hospital and had to endure several skin grafts to help repair the damage.
 
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the hose had been attached to the pump with tape instead of with a permanent fixing such as a jubilee clip. The HSE also found that neither Mr Reid, nor the rest of the workforce had been properly trained to handle sodium hydroxide. The HSE also discovered that the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided was insufficient to protect personnel from the risks posed by this substance.
 
This failure by DMI (UK) Ltd led to a prosecution brought by the HSE; where the North Tyneside Magistrate’s Court heard how the company had failed to carry out the necessary risk assessments pertaining to the sodium hydroxide tank-filling procedure.
 
DMI (UK) Ltd was fined £12,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £4,081 after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
 
Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Shuna Rank stated that:
“Companies have a duty to ensure that hazards at work are managed so that they do not put employees and others at risk.”
 
Mr Imran Akram, Managing Director of Asons Solicitors stated that:
 
“This duty needs to be taken seriously, this case illustrates the serious consequences of neglecting these responsibilities. DMI (UK) Ltd’s failings could easily have been avoided had the hose been attached properly, and regular safety checks carried out. Due to the lack of PPE and poor health and safety practices, Mr Reid is well within his rights to make a personal injury claim. After 49 years of service, Mr Reid deserved much more from his employers.”
 
Having begun employment with the company in 1963, Mr Reid has never returned to work since the incident on the 30th of January 2011.
 
“Although I applaud the HSE on their continued efforts to protect personnel throughout the industrial sector, I don’t believe that £12,000 in fines reflects the gravity of DMI (UK) Ltd’s neglect for health and safety regulations. We can only hope that this case will serve as an example to other companies who have yet to assess the dangers within their workplace; so that maybe, other livelihoods will be saved” adds Mr Akram.  

If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of an accident at work; speak to the Asons accident injury claims team today to see if you’re entitled to compensation.

 
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About Asons Solicitors:
 
Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.
 
For further information visit:
Website: www.asons.co.uk



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 Accident Injury Claims
 Personal Injury Claims
 Accidents at Work
 Lack of PPE
 Asons Solicitors


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