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A catering equipment cleaning company has been fined £200,000 after a worker died after falling into a tank of hot water.

The man fell through the lid of a tank of hot water heated to 76° centigrade and died a week later in hospital. It happened on 8 January 2018 when the worker was standing on the lid of a covered tank when it gave way. He was pulled from the hot water by a colleague and taken to hospital but had sustained 37% burns from which he didn’t recover.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to carry out risk assessments or develop written systems of work for any maintenance to the tank line. There was no instruction about what should or shouldn’t be done when access to the restricted rear area was necessary, including whether it was acceptable to walk across the tops and lids of the tanks. This resulted in employees routinely accessing the area in this way, placing themselves at significant risk and which subsequently led to this death.

At Preston Magistrates’ Court on October 18, the company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,597.17.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE principal inspector Helen Jones said: “This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts remain with the family involved. The death of this man could easily have been prevented had the company acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and to put a safe system of work in place.”

Source – HSE

HSCS Scotland Promoting a Healthier Workplace Through Safety

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