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News » UK » Novice gets cement burns on first day » published 18 Jan 2016

Novice gets cement burns on first day

A 21-year-old agency worker required plastic surgery after suffering cement burns on his very first day of full time employment.

The man was exposed to alkaline cement slurry by standing in a drainage pit with inadequate personal protective equipment. He suffered chemical burns to his feet and ankles. He was in hospital for three weeks. Despite plastic surgery, his feet and lower legs are scarred for life.

He had just started work with Leicestershire building products manufacturer Stressline Ltd.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred on 28th April 2014 at Stressline’s premises in Station Road, Stoney Stanton, found that the company had not appreciated that slurry from cured concrete dust posed the same risks as that from cement or wet uncured concrete.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard that Stressline had no risk assessment for the slurry or suitable and sufficient controls to eliminate, reduce or control the risks. A mechanical system to remove slurry from the water pit would have prevented these life changing injuries.

In his statement provided to the court, the burns victim said: “A year after the accident my feet are scarred. My right foot is worse than my left. I find it difficult still to walk. I don’t know how my feet will improve in the long term. I wouldn’t like anyone to go through what I have had to go through.”

Stressline Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,121.

HSE inspector Richenda Dixon said after the hearing: “The risks from concrete and cement are well known in this industry. Companies need to protect agency workers as they are as likely to have injures in the first six months of employment as in the rest of their working lives.”




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This article was published on 18 Jan 2016 (last updated on 18 Jan 2016).

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