Global steel company was fined £500,000 for serious safety breaches after a worker died when he fell into a channel carrying slag waste at 1,500 degrees Celsius when covers had been removed for maintenance and not replaced.
The worker was working on a night shift on the Blast Furnace at the Port Talbot steelworks when the incident happened on 25 April 2006.
The court was told that the worker went to the cast house at the site to inspect the slag pool, which was due to close for maintenance work during the day shift. Whilst on a veranda area, steam from a granulator became acute forcing him to leave.
The worker tried to retrace his steps through the dense steam and he fell into the open section of a channel that was running slag at 1,500 degrees Celsius. He attempted to climb out and was helped out by workers who heard his cries. Although conscious he died later the same day.
The Health and Safety Executives (HSE) investigation found that the company had a reporting system which showed a significant number of near misses where steam had led to dangerous situations with the potential to injure workers or damage equipment.
It was also common practice to operate the furnace with sections of channels - or runners - left uncovered without taking additional precautions to prevent anyone from falling in.
HSE Principal Inspector Colin Mew, said "This horrific incident could have been avoided if the company had a system in place to ensure that either no covers were left off the runners or - if they needed to be left off - a temporary barrier was erected around them”
If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at www.forsterdean.co.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook
Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor