Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 18th January 2018, three workers contracted by Keadby Generation Ltd, were removing a recirculation pump for maintenance in the flue gas desulphurisation area of Fiddlers Ferry power station in Warrington.
Some 38 cubic metres of diluted slurry was released while the pump was being removed. The force of it knocked the workers off the concrete plinth they were working from, causing multiple fracture injuries.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the pressurised contents of the pump and associated pipework had not been discharged before work starting because the drain pipe had been blocked. This resulted in the release of stored energy during the removal of the pump instead of during the isolation process.
Keadby Generation had failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and had not implemented a safe system of work.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 with costs of £7,163.20.
HSE inspector Jane Carroll said after the hearing: “This incident could so easily have been avoided if the company had identified and managed the risks involved and put a safe system of work in place.”