Food company fined after its health and safety manager burned by hot oil

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A firm near Grantham that manufactures frozen potato products has been fined after its health and safety manager was burned by hot oil.

Harvey Hopwood, the health and safety manager at PAS (Grantham) Ltd, sustained 10 per cent burns to his shoulder, upper arms, neck and back while he was overseeing the jet washing of a large oil storage tank at the Easton-based company on November 27 last year.

Grantham Magistrates’ Court heard today that he climbed between the guard rails on the gantry at the top of the tank to check how the work was progressing. As he did so he knocked a pipe connected to a pressure gauge, which came off and released oil over 160 degrees Celsius in temperature over his upper body.

Mr Hopwood, 62, of Melton Mowbray, was off work for over a month before later leaving the company.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the cleaning operation, and instead decided to do the work first and write it retrospectively.

PAS (Grantham) Ltd, of Easton, was fined £16,500 and ordered to pay £571 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

After the hearing HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green, said: “The whole point of a risk assessment is to ensure the risks associated with a particular task are considered and measures put in place to mitigate against them in order to keep workers safe.

“To carry out the work first and then write the assessment afterwards is foolhardy to say the least.

“Mr Hopwood was extremely fortunate not to be more seriously injured. If it hadn’t been for the incredibly quick actions of colleagues who dragged him to an emergency shower this incident may have had a very different outcome.”