A company has been fined after a worker suffered 13% burns after encountering flammable vapours whilst making a batch of 10,000 litres of hairspray.
The hairspray batch was being mixed in a stainless-steel container which caught alight when flammable vapours were created due to heating. After investigation the HSE found that when the worker added powder into the vessel via the designated lid from a metal scoop, a flammable vapour engulfed his upper torso.
It was revealed that the extraction system at the lip of the manway lid was not adequate to prevent build up in a flammable atmosphere. The cause of the ignition is likely to have been static electricity built up in the worker’s cloths or a spark from the metal scoop. A risk assessment should have been conducted to eliminate any risks of explosion or flammable reactions.
As a result, the company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) 2002. They also were consequently fined £480,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,441.80.