Automotive firm fined £1m after explosion injures two workers

A car and commercial vehicle component manufacturer has been fined £1m for failing to risk-assess its tank cleaning procedure after an explosion at its site in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, left two workers with “significant” burn injuries.

Two employees at Delphi Diesel Systems were cleaning a component washer’s distillation tank with a flammable chemical on 11 July 2017 when the vapour ignited, triggering an explosion.
Both workers sustained severe injuries; one employee’s burns were so serious that he could not return to work for more than two months, Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court was told.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was no risk assessment or safe system of work for using flammable chemicals to clean the distillation tank.
Delphi Diesel Systems pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Alongside the fine, it was ordered to pay costs of £9,374 on 24 July.
After the hearing, HSE principal inspector Paul Thompson said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe systems of work, and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in those systems, as well as the substances they use.
“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the injuries suffered by the employees could have been prevented.”