A global steel company was fined £500,000 after a worker died from a fall into liquid waste at 1,500 degrees Celsius. Covers over the waste channel had been removed for maintenance and had not been replaced. The worker was inspecting the site when steam in the area became so dense that he fell into the open section of the channel when attempting to leave. He died from his injuries later that day.
The company was found to have a reporting system which showed a significant number of ‘near miss’ incidents relating to excess steam resulting in the potential for dangerous situations. It was also found to have been common practice for sections of the channels to be left uncovered. These two factors were said by the HSE to have been ‘a fatal combination which should have been foreseen by the company.’
The company pled guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. In addition to the £500,000 fi ne a costs order was made to the sum of £57,487.