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Sat September 25 2021

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Harford Attachments fined after deadly explosion

30 Jul 18 Harford Attachments, which makes buckets and quick couplers for excavators, must pay out more than £200,000 in fines and costs for safety failings that led to the death of two employees.

Harford Attachments makes quick hitches and attachements for excavators
Harford Attachments makes quick hitches and attachements for excavators

The men were killed by an explosion in the spray booth at Harford Attachment’s plant in Norwich.

Norwich Crown Court heard how, on 13th July 2015, two workers had already sprayed several welded steel buckets that morning and were preparing for their next batch. The flammable vapour generated while cleaning or flushing a paint spray gun was ignited by one of the various sources of ignition that were present. An explosion occurred, killing both of them.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the immediate cause of the explosion to be the inconsistent and incomplete approach to health and safety by the company and its employees. This resulted in the lack of suitable control measures; specifically, a suitable and sufficient safe system of work for the activities in the spray booth.

Harford Attachments Limited of Spar Road, Norwich pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and breaching Regulation 6(4)(f)(i) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002.

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It was fined £145,000 and ordered to pay costs of £65,900.

HSE inspector Keith Waller said after the hearing: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to implement safe systems of work, and failure to ensure that health and safety documentation was communicated and followed.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Harford Attachments is currently advertising on its website for a health & safety co-ordinator, IOSH qualified preferred.

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