Failure to assess the risks – £1 Million Fine results

Two employees at Delphi Diesel Systems (a car and commercial vehicle component manufacturer) were cleaning a component washer’s distillation tank with a flammable chemical in July 2017 when the vapour ignited, triggering an explosion.
Both workers sustained severe injuries; one employee’s burns were so serious that he could not return to work for more than two months, Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that:
  • there was no risk assessment and
  • no safe system of work for using flammable chemicals to clean the distillation tank.
Delphi Diesel Systems pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Alongside the £1,000,000 fine, it was ordered to pay costs of £9,374.
After the hearing, HSE principal inspector Paul Thompson said:
Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe systems of work, and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in those systems, as well as the substances they use.
If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the injuries suffered by the employees could have been prevented.