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A breaker company in Surrey has been fined after a worker was badly burned when a skip fire caused an explosion.
The injured employee, who was only 15 at the time of the accident, was engulfed by a fireball as he used petrol as an accelerant to burn car parts at a site belonging to Grublogger, based near Redhill.
After being rushed to hospital, doctors discovered he had suffered serious burns to his face, neck, chest and arms. However, the young worker recovered quickly and has not sustained any long-term injuries that will seriously impact his quality of life.
Redhill Magistrates Court heard that both the unnamed 15 year old and another staff member that sustained minor injuries in the accident were among a number of young teens employed to strip down cars to salvage parts.
Grublogger rented a unit at Brookside Farm and used a skip as a makeshift incinerator, using petrol as an accelerant with the blessing of executives at the firm.
However, a later Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation established this presented a clear risk to members of staff.
It was also found by inspectors that storage and control of petrol at the site was poor and could have started a fire at a workshop in the industrial facility.
Grublogger was fined a total of £23,000 and ordered to pay £5,113 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of both the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
HSE inspector Andrew McGill said: "The training, instruction and supervision in this case were clearly inadequate in this regard.
"There was no need to use the skip as an incinerator and if burning waste was the preferred method of disposal then it should have been done properly, using the proper equipment and with proper management and control measures. This was a wholly preventable incident arising from a clearly dangerous practice."
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