A company in the north-west has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it was found to have played a part in the burns sustained by one of its mechanics.
Windermere Auto Centre, which is owned by Kankku, employed an unnamed 26-year-old man as a mechanic at its premises in the Cumbria town and, in July 2011, instructed him to cut the top off an empty oil drum. However, disaster struck when the remaining oil inside the drum caught light and caused an explosion, burning the man in the process.
He experienced burns to his hands and arms and had to spend five days in hospital in a bid to overcome his injuries. The HSE moved quickly to launch an investigation and subsequent prosecution of Windermere Auto Centre's owner, with Kankku pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 6(1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 during its recent court appearance.
The company was fined £6,000 at Kendal Magistrates' Court and told it must also pay more than £4,700 in costs. In addition, it will hand over £500 to the injured employee.
Kankku confessed to failing to do all it could to minimise the risk of danger to its workers at the site.
HSE inspector Anthony Banks said: "There were several ways the top could have been cut off the oil drum safely, but the company should have considered whether it needed to do this in the first place. It would have been much more sensible to use another container to store scrap metal at the garage, rather than using a drum which still had small amounts of a flammable substance inside."
Mr Banks went on to suggest these types of incidents are still far too common in the UK and can lead to more serious injuries or even death for the mechanics involved. As such, garages and other firms must do all they can to minimise the risks to their workers.