Coventry & Warwickshire

Leamington Spa company fined for severely burned worker

A car components manufacturer has been fined after a worker was burned by caustic soda while leaning over a conveyor.

The man needed skin grafts to his stomach after the incident at Grupo Antolin Leamington in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire in January last year.

The company, prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,900.

The manufacturer has now installed a safety barrier.

Nuneaton Magistrates' Court heard the man was working on a spray line as part of a process for manufacturing part of a car's roof interior.

'Highly corrosive'

The machine includes a reservoir containing a solution of caustic soda, also known as sodium hydroxide, which is used to soften the adhesive that builds up on the conveyor, allowing it to be scraped off more easily.

The HSE investigation found that the company had not put controls in place to prevent staff from coming into contact with the caustic soda.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations between June 2010 and January 2012.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Mark Austin said: "Caustic soda is a highly corrosive substance.

"As an alkali it can be more destructive to tissue than many acids."

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