HSE warns companies to protect employees from dangers of flammable liquids

Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association (SOHSA) on 2008-06-23 08:38:57

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned companies to protect employees from flammable cleaning liquids after a Leicester man suffered burns to his hands and legs after some acetone caught fire. Leicester-based Parmeko Plc was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,910 costs today (Friday 13 June) at Leicester Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to contravening Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of an employee whilst he was handling acetone, a flammable liquid. On 2 October 2007, Naran Hirani, 50, was using acetone to clean components at the factory. He poured some acetone into a one litre plastic jug, and used a small brush to clean debris and oil from transformers. At this point, a fire occurred. HSE's investigation found that the acetone was being used without any attention given to fire risk arising from uncontrolled vapour release near sources of heat, flame or sparks. In this case a solder pot running at up to 400°C was positioned at just over an arm's length from the acetone. HSE Inspector for Leicestershire Munera Sidat said: "This incident could have been avoided if Parmeko had put a safe system of working in place to help protect employees when handling this sort of highly flammable and toxic substance and made employees aware of the dangers associated with acetone. If this had been the case here, Mr Hirani would not have suffered such a painful incident."

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