Monthly Archives: February 2012

Several Injured at Explosion in Fox’s Biscuits Factory

Several people sustained injury and one man was severely burned after an explosion occurred at the Fox’s Biscuits factory located on Wellington Street in Batley. At 10.45am the emergency services were called when a spark ignited fuel in an old heating oil tank at the back of the building. The man who suffered burns on his legs is a contractor that was apparently dismantling this tank at the time. Treatment was administered at the site and he was subsequently brought to hospital; his injuries are not thought to be severe. Another five workers were also provided with medical treatment at the scene.

The incident occurred Wednesday the 22nd and resulted in the evacuation of the factory as fire-fighters tried to prevent the fire spreading from to a boiler house adjacent to the factory. The fire was extinguished in just a few minutes; however they remained at the factory for several hours afterwards to cool the tank.

A Fox’s Biscuits spokesman said that no damage had been done to the building as a result of the explosion and that the firm’s 450 employees had been able to return to work at the factory at 3pm. He went on to say –

“At approximately 10.45am there was a small blast in the area around the three diesel tanks at the back of the building.

“Contractors were draining and cleaning the diesel tanks and there was a source of ignition that caused the incident and one member of the contractor team sustained burns to his legs.

“He is in hospital receiving treatment and is sitting up and talking. We await a further update as to his condition.

“The response to the incident from colleagues on site was excellent, the evacuation was done quickly and orderly and we remained fully in control at all times.

“The incident management and evacuation has been commended by the chief fire officer on the scene.”

The spokesman also stated that the Health and Safety Executive were conducting an investigation and that the company had also launched their own investigation in conjunction with the contractors and site teams.

Harrow Construction Firm Fined after Worker Disabled after Fall

R&G Construction, a construction firm in Harrow, has been ordered to pay fines of £30,000 in addition to full costs of £7,515 by Westminster Magistrates Court after one of its workers, a 28-year old man, fell seven metres from an unguarded roof and sustained injuries that will impact his life forever. R&G Construction  were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation which discovered that scaffolding that had protected other workers who had been carrying out work had been removed the month before.

Vasile Ionel Vatca from Romania had been working on a major refurbishment project where the construction of a basement and a roof replacement was necessary. On the day that the accident occurred Vatca was working on the roof. The only way to get down off the roof was by utilising a ladder which only went to the lower portion of the roof. As he climbed down, the ladder dropped from the building. Vatca then fell about seven metres to the ground and sustained a broken leg, heel and wrist. The severity of his injuries means that Vatca is now permanently disabled.

Andrew Verrall-Withers, a HSE inspector, called the accident appalling and entirely avoidable. He then stated –

“Companies have a duty to take steps to reduce risks and prevent falls using equipment such as guardrails and working platforms, or even nets and airbags if needs be.

“If the firm had properly planned and organised the work and sufficiently assessed the risks of working at height, along with the use of appropriate work equipment – the likelihood of this happening would have been much reduced.”