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27th September 2016

Worker sustains life-threatening injuries from a drum explosion

A worker suffered life-threatening injuries after a drum he was working on exploded.

Andrew Foster, 41, an employee of Highway Care Limited was using a plasma cutter to cut up a drum that had previously contained a flammable substance.

The drum he was working on exploded in his face causing complex head and brain injuries. He permanently lost vision in his right eye and has very limited vision in his right eye.

Highway Care Limited, of Detling Hill, Maidstone, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive that found the company had failed to ensure the health and safety of employees.

The company was fined £660,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £33,358.46.

Caroline Fullman, inspector for the HSE, said: “Andrew Foster has been left with devastating injuries that will impact on the rest of his and his family’s lives.

“This incident could have resulted in a fatality. If a welding torch or plasma cutter is used on a tank or drum that has contained or contains a flammable substance, it can explode.

“It only takes a small amount of residue to create a potentially flammable atmosphere.”

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