Company to pay blast victim £15,000 and fined £12,000

A WORKER who suffered serious burns after an explosion at a Brighouse chemical container site has been awarded £15,000 compensation.

Mohammed Ahmed Ali, from Huddersfield, suffered 15 per cent burns to his forearms, thighs, genitals and lower abdomen when a chemical container he was working on at Pack2Pack in Wood Street, exploded in March last year.

A spokesman for his solicitor, Imran Salim, at Davies and Company, Stockport, said Mr Ali also sustained soft tissue injuries to his neck and back and psychological symptoms, including nightmares and flashbacks.

"Mr Ali continues to remain in employment with the company although he has been unable to return to work since the date of the accident. This is despite his employers stressing that following the accident, changes in systems and procedures have been made which they say will prevent a repetition of the accident. He remains wary and afraid."

News of the compensation settlement, made after a civil claim, was announced after the company appeared at Calderdale Magistrates' Court, Halifax.

The company admitted three charges. They were failure to ensure that the risk from dangerous substance, namely flammable substances, was eliminated or reduced so far as reasonably practicable; failure to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the risks and to its employees arising from dangerous substances present in the workplace; and failing to ensure that the work equipment used for the debottling of intermediate bulk containers, namely the Stihl saw, was only used for operations for which, and under conditions for which, it was suitable.

The company was fined a total of 12,000 – 4,000 on each charge – and ordered to pay 6,926 costs.

(Full court report in the Brighouse Echo 12/6/2008)

He said the company had been experiencing extensive staff changes at the time of the incident.

“There was clearly a lot of activity that deflected attention from monitoring the Brighouse plant,” he said. “Measures slipped beneath the radar of urgency and it is accepted that this should not have happened.”