A worker was severely burnt after falling into a furnace in a work accident.
The accident happened in May 2011 on the premises of Meridian Lightweight Technologies (UK) Ltd. Keith Buckley was employed by the company at the time of the incident, and was removing equipment from the top of a magnesium furnace.
A pump and its tube had been removed from the top of the furnace and the hole that they left had been filled with a soft wool material. Mr Buckley was walking across the top of the furnace when he accidentally stood on the wool material. His foot went through it and into the magnesium melt below.
The magnesium melt was at a temperature of around 500°C, and his boot became stuck in the melt. He only managed to free his foot when the shoelaces on his boot burnt off.
Mr Buckley suffered burns to his lower leg and to his hand in the accident. The burns were so severe that they needed skin grafts to treat. He has since returned to work but on lighter duties than before.
The HSE investigated due to the severity of the accident. They found that although the company had a written safe system of work, it had not been shown to the workers who were involved in this particular incident. This safe system of work required a metal plate to cover the hole at the top of the furnace.
The company were at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court this week in regards to the accident. They pleaded guilty to breaking health and safety legislation and were fined £12,000.