Aerospace firm fined for eye injury

09 Nov 2012

An aerospace company has been fined £17,000 after a worker suffered an eye injury while cleaning out a tank containing corrosive chemicals.

The 39-year-old, who chose not to be named, sustained a chemical burn to his eyelid and inside his tear duct after small flakes of caustic soda flicked into his eye.

The man, who worked for Inflite Engineering Ltd in Chelmsford, was standing in a tank containing a solid crystalline material largely made-up of solidified sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda, Chelmsford Magistrates' Court heard.

The incident occurred on 12 November 2011 when the employee temporarily removed his protective mask after it had misted up while he was chipping away at the solid crystalline material.

Inflite Engineering Ltd, which operates sites in Chelmsford, Stansted and Manchester, should have taken greater measures to protect the safety of their workers, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found.

Besides the risks of working with hazardous materials, employees could easily have slipped and fallen while inside the tank, HSE said.

Inflite Engineering Ltd, of Inflite House, Stansted Airport, was fined £17,000 and ordered to pay £3,246 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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