Maintenance workers seriously injured when energy suddenly released

An electricity power station company has been fined £200,000 after three workmen were injured by a sudden release of water and sludge whilst carrying out maintenance work at a Cheshire power station in January 2018 at the Fiddlers Ferry Power Station in Warrington.

Manchester Magistrates heard that the three workers were removing a re-circulation pump for maintenance when some 39 cubic metres of diluted slurry and associated stored energy was released as the pump removed.

This resulted in the men being knocked off the concrete plinth where they had been working causing sustained multiple fracture injuries to all three men.

Pipework remained under pressure

HSE investigators found that the pressurised contents of the pump and associated pipework had not been discharged prior to work commencing due to the drain pipe being blocked.

This resulted in the release of stored energy during the removal of the pump.

The company failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the hazards and risks associated with the work and had not implemented a safe system of work.

  • Keadby Generation Limited – of Keadby Power Station, Trentside, Keadby, Scunthorpe, pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 with costs of £7163.20.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jane Carroll said:

“This incident could so easily have been avoided if the company had identified and managed the risks involved and put a safe system of work in place.

Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”