Brintons fined after worker narrowly avoid serious injury after explosion
Brintons Carpets and one of its maintenance contractors have been ordered to pay more than £25,000 after a worker avoided serious injury by a few feet after a dye vessel exploded and its quarter of a tonne lid was thrown 6m into the air.
Telford Magistrates' Court was told yesterday that Brintons' Halesfield, Telford plant has four stock dye vessels, each described as industrial pressure cookers, which are pressurised while in use. During a production run on 4 June last year, one of the vessels exploded. The lid, which weighed about 250kg, was torn off its locking mechanism and hinges and hit the roof of the factory 6m above. One worker was standing just a few feet from the where the lid came to rest. Such was the force of the collision that it left a dent in one of the factory roof girders.
The Health and Safety Executive found the explosion was caused by a failure of the vessel's regulator and pressure relief valve. HSE found that Brintons had not ensured that suitable and sufficient maintenance of the vessel's safety devices was being carried out. The statutory periodic thorough examination had also not been completed for three years.
Allianz Engineering Inspection Services was carrying out periodic thorough examinations on the other pressure equipment on site, the HSE found that the four stock dye vats had been overlooked for a number of years.
Both companies pleaded guilty to breaching the Pressures Systems Safety Regulations 2000. Brintons was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,174 while Allianz was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,111.
Speaking after the hearing, Lyn Mizen, HSE inspector said: 'If a piece of pressure equipment fails and bursts violently apart, the results can be devastating to people in the vicinity. It was a matter of pure luck that no one was seriously injured in this incident.
'There are clear standards set out in the regulations and strict inspection regimes whereby the user has a duty to ensure that equipment, and its safety devices, are properly maintained. This is backed up by the periodic thorough examinations by competent persons to ensure this is happening and is appropriate and suitable. Sadly in this case the user of the pressure system and their competent person both failed in their duties.'