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Aerospace company fined over chemical accident

Aerospace company Inflite Engineering Ltd has been fined £17,000 following a workplace accident in which an employee sustained a chemical burn to his eyelid and inside his tear duct after flicking sodium hydroxide crystals into his face. An HSE investigation concluded that the company – which admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 – could and should have done more to prevent the incident and protect the worker.

Commenting, HSE Inspector Vicky Fletcher said “This incident was completely preventable. It was a specialist task involving both the risk of chemical burns from the caustic soda, and also falling from the tank to the ground or, even worse, into an adjacent uncovered tank containing sodium cyanide solution“. She went on to warn that “It is essential that thorough assessments of … risks are carried out to determine if there is sufficient in-house expertise.

This set of template risk assessment forms can help you follow a systematic method of looking at work activities, assessing what could go wrong and deciding what controls you need to implement in order to prevent loss, damage or injury.

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