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Scalded worker costs Suez £220,000

Suez has reviewed maintenance across its energy-from-waste (EfW) sites after being fined £220,000 because a worker was severely burned at its Haverton Hill, Stockton-on-Tees facility.

Teesside Crown Court was told the employee was seriously scalded by hot ash and water in October 2014 when a line became blocked.

He opened two hatches on a chute which takes away burned waste material and used a metal pole to dislodge the blockage. In doing so the material dropped into a pit filled with water and a plume of hot ash and steam erupted from the hatches. causing severe burns to his upper body and face.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the company failed to consider adequately the risk that workers were exposed to during this task.

It was also found the company failed to implement appropriate systems to manage and supervise this workplace activity. This meant the limited measures it had put in place were not followed.

Suez Recycling and Recovery Tees Valley admitted breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £220,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,695.65.

Suez said after the case that it had not sought to shy away from its responsibility.

”We deeply regret these failings and apologise to the member of staff in question. Fortunately, we are pleased to say that the injured party has returned to work for Suez in the time since the incident. We accept the sentence passed down by the court and Suez has conducted a detailed investigation, review and radical overhaul of procedures to ensure that similar incidents are avoided in the future.

”Following the incident, we have completely reviewed the maintenance process that was being undertaken at the time of the incident, across all of our EfW facilities, in order to ensure that it can be done safely in future.

”This has been accompanied by ’toolbox talks’ with operational staff to ensure they understand the new procedures and the introduction of new tools and personal protection equipment to assist in the maintenance task.”

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