Wednesday 24 July 2013

Not a good idea to write a risk assessment after the task has been carried out

Hot-oil burns occurred whilst jet washing a large oil storage tank at PAS (Grantham) Ltd., who manufacture frozen potato products.
The circumstances were:
  • The company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the cleaning operation, and instead decided to do the work first and write it retrospectively.
  • Harvey Hopwood (actually the health and safety manager) climbed between the guard rails on the gantry at the top of the tank to check how the work was progressing. 
  • As he did so he knocked a pipe connected to a pressure gauge, which came off and released 160°C oil over his upper body.

PAS (Grantham) Ltd, was fined £17,000 (inc. costs).
The HSE inspector said:
"The whole point of a risk assessment is to ensure the risks associated with a particular task are considered and measures put in place to mitigate against them in order to keep workers safe. To carry out the work first and then write the assessment afterwards is foolhardy to say the least. Mr Hopwood was extremely fortunate not to be more seriously injured. If it hadn’t been for the incredibly quick actions of colleagues who dragged him to an emergency shower this incident may have had a very different outcome."

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