Loughborough food manufacturer fined 4,000 after explosion leaves employee disa

Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association (SOHSA) on 2008-06-23 08:41:23

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned companies to properly maintain pressure systems after a man lost his leg following an explosion at a food factory in Loughborough. On 12 June 2007, a 44-year-old Loughborough man employed at Authentic World Cuisine Limited, which produced a range of sachet Asian meals for supermarkets, sustained multiple injuries when the door of an autoclave (known as a retort, or pressure cooker) exploded under pressure midway through a cooking cycle. The detached circular steel door struck him and sent him eight metres across the factory causing multiple fractures. He also sustained burns from the hot contents of the vessel. As a result of the incident, his leg was amputated, he spent more than five months in hospital and is now looked after at home whilst he rehabilitates. The company which manufactured at Castle Business Park, Pavilion Way, was fined £4,000, and ordered to pay this within 28 days, at Loughborough Magistrates Court today, after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 12 of the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 for failing to ensure that the company’s pressure vessel (autoclave) was maintained in a state of good repair. Roger Amery one of HM Inspectors who deals with Leicestershire said: "Major injuries in the food industry arising from the sudden or explosive release of pressure are, I am pleased to say, infrequent events. But this incident shows just how serious the consequences can be when things do go wrong and just how much energy is contained within industrial pressure systems. There might easily have been one or several fatalities in this explosion. The injuries that did result were very severe with long term consequences for the man who had the misfortune of being in the path of this door when the system exploded.. "I hope this will serve as a reminder to employers and to managers who have specific responsibility for plant and equipment, that as well as ensuring periodic statutory examinations are made, it is equally important to ensure that all maintenance on pressure vessels is undertaken competently and that the protection systems are kept in good working order at all times."

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