High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard that in August 2017, an employee was cleaning the walls of the dairy farm at Old House Farm in North Dean, Buckinghamshire using a corrosive disinfectant DM CiD, which contains potassium hydroxide.
The pump sprayer being used unexpectedly developed a fault and ruptured into the face of the employee, covering him in the caustic and corrosive disinfectant and rendering him permanently blind in both eyes.
Failed to plan
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Beechdean Farm had failed to plan and supervise the use of chemicals for cleaning the site and did not have effective emergency arrangements in place.
The manufacturer pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,879.94.
Commenting after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “While it was possible for both the pump sprayer and the chemical to be used for cleaning, this incident could so easily have been avoided by implementing correct control measures, safe working practices and appropriate emergency arrangements.
‘Take appropriate enforcement action’
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
Meanwhile, the number of food and drink manufacturers that have received fines in excess of £1m for health and safety failings has increased over the past three years, as reported on FoodManufacture.co.uk.
In March, pork processor Karro Foods was fined £1.8m after two workers suffered serious injuries when they fell through a rooflight, while in September 2017 convenience food manufacturer Greencore was fined £1M for safety failings, following the death of a contractor after falling from a stepladder.