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Fuel Proof Ltd has been fined £66,000 after an incident at its manufacturing plant left a worker suffering from nearly complete paralysis. A court in Preston discovered that Karol Robaczewski had not been given adequate PPE (person protective equipment) and endured terrible injuries.

The incident occurred during September 2011 and took place at an industrial complex in Lancashire. No suitable risk assessment had been carried out to limit the chances of the incident happening.

Robaczewski was engaged in cleaning a fuel tank 20,000 litres in size when disaster struck. A fireball enveloped him, resulting in serious burns. Robaczewski is now largely confined to a wheelchair and cannot participate in the various activities he used to enjoy, such as practicing karate and playing the trumpet.

Rose Leese-Weller of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stated:

“It is shocking that Fuel Proof allowed workers to use a highly flammable solvent to clean the inside of fuel tanks for four years. What’s even more appalling is that there was never any need for workers to use solvents to clean the tanks, as the company now uses soapy water.”

The inspector from the HSE also suggested that other companies should learn lessons from this case. She said that businesses should think about whether or not they must use flammable substances. She added that if firms really were obliged to use flammable substances then they should ensure that appropriate safety measures are put in place.

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