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Claims for scald accidents at work?

Burn mark's on someone's back
14th May 2014

At least one work compensation claim could be landing on the desk at Nestle Purina after the petcare company admitted breaching health and safety rules, which resulted in five men suffering severe burns.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that Gary Coe, David Garner, Mark Mawby, Christopher Newell and David Naylor were working for the company at its plant on Cromwell Road in Wisbech when the incident occurred.

The court was told that a high-pressure food-processing machine called a hydrostat unleashed an uncontrolled burst of scalding hot steam and boiling water whilst the group were in the vicinity, causing all of them to hospitalised for treatment to the burns on their their faces, arms and hands, whilst one of the victims needed cosmetic surgery to mask the damage done to one of his arms, which could put him at the front of the queue to make a work compensation claim.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the hydrostat's controls had been recently replaced but crucially, no risk assessment was undertaken, which could have prevented the men's painful accident at work.

After the company had been fined £50,000 with £22,634.15 costs, HSE inspector Peter Burns remarked that "this incident highlights the need for companies to plan and implement all projects with a clear health and safety oversight. In particular, there are strict rules and regulations around the modifications and repairs of high pressure systems that are in place to protect workers operating or maintaining these machines."

If the men are unsure about whether or not to make a work compensation claim, they could seek inspiration from Joe Sellman-Leava, who suffered permanent damage to his skin after being scalded by 80C detergent at the Chevalier Inn in Exeter whilst cleaning a piece of equipment that he hadn't been given training for.

Magistrates decided that the pub's owners, Wetherspoons, hadn't given staff sufficient guidance and failed to take immediate remedial action following the incident. As a result, the firm was fined £27,000 and Joe is making a work compensation claim against them in order to gain damages.

If you suffer burns or scalds at work and it wasn't your fault, you could make a work compensation claim for your injuries, which you could use to fund any further treatment you may need.

Reported by Fiona Campbell