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Molten metal company fined after explosion injuries

07 January 2020

A molten metal company in Somerset has been fined for failings after an explosion which injured a worker.

Taunton Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5 March 2018 an employee of Cronite Castings Ltd was manually loading a 500kg capacity foundry furnace with metal charge. Solid pieces were added to molten metal and some pieces were wet. An explosion occurred resulting in ejection of a quantity of molten metal from the furnace. The employee suffered molten metal burns to their torso and hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that procedures for keeping charge dry and checking for wetness before furnace loading were inadequate. The investigation found that a roof leak over the stored charge material had been identified but effective action was not taken. The injured person was not wearing the correct personal protective equipment; this had become custom and practice on the night shift and supervision arrangements had not been effective in ensuring proper use of molten-metal PPE.

Cronite Castings Ltd of Crewkerne, Somerset, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act. The company has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8544.90, plus court surcharge of £170.00.

HSE inspector Dawn Lawrence said: “This injury could have easily been prevented and the risk should have been controlled. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk of explosion."