Worker fined after employee seriously injured

INEOS has been fined £400,000 after an employee was seriously injured while carrying out a routine task at its chemicals site in Grangemouth, Scotland.

The worker, 47, was attempting to clear a sump containing a caustic solution on 25 November 2019. However, he fell into the sump due to inadequate grating and sustained severe burn injuries.

The sump had needed emptying as its contents had reached the high-level design threshold the day before on 24 November. After laying out various hoses in preparation of emptying the sump, the worker then entered the sump area. While in the sump area, the worker stepped onto the corner of the grating with his right leg.

The grating, however, gave way, with the worker’s right leg falling into the sump and becoming saturated with the caustic solution. He was submerged in the solution for three seconds before pulling himself out of the sump and was later treated at the burns unit at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

The man sustained permanent scarring to his right leg and was in pain for four weeks following the incident before returning to work in the December.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into this incident found INEOS had failed to undertake a risk assessment of the work involved. There was also no safe system of work in place. The grating was not secured and there were no barriers in place to prevent a fall into the sump.

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