The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted the director of a South Wales construction company, after he failed to take appropriate action which resulted in a young worker receiving serious burns.
The worker had been instructed to stand on top of a skip and pour a drum of flammable thinners onto the burning waste to help it to burn.
The fireball that resulted when the thinners ignited caused the worker to be blown from the skip and he suffered substantial burns to his arms and legs.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the company director had not ensured the burning of the waste material was being carried out in a safe or appropriate manner.
He also failed to administer any first aid to the young injured worker – and did not send him to hospital, the most appropriate response given the severity of the injuries suffered, said the HSE.
He failed to inform HSE of the incident – a legal requirement – and the incident was only reported some time later by a third party.
At Cardiff Crown Court, David Gordon Stead of Mildred Street in Beddau, Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Section 4 (1) of The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
Stead was sentenced to 32 weeks’ imprisonment, half on release under licence. He has also been disqualified from being a company director for seven years.
Speaking after sentencing, HSE inspector Adele Davies said:
“David Stead failed his employees – his actions could have resulted in the death of this worker. The young man suffered unnecessary life threatening injuries due to poor working standards.
“We hope this sentence sends out a message that directors of businesses must take their health and safety responsibilities seriously.”
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