A glass container manufacturer on Ellesmere Port’s outskirts has been fined for serious safety breaches after two employees were injured in a flash fire.

Encirc Ltd at Ash Road, Elton was prosecuted on Thursday October 22 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an incident at the plant on Wednesday May 14 2014.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard two employee fitters working in the mould shop suffered burns to their face and head when a gas canister exploded.

While the employees were welding pieces on work benches, with flammable aerosols stored around them, a gas canister exploded causing a flash fire and injuring the men. Oxyacetylene welding was also taking place in the area giving rise to a further risk of fire and explosion and putting other employees at risk.

No risk assessment

The HSE investigation found no risk assessment had been carried out and no instruction was given to operatives in relation to the storage and use of flammable aerosols on work benches in the mould shop.

HSE found the company had failed in its duties towards its employees and in the failure to assess the risks and to implement control measures.

Encirc Ltd, of Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £4,840.90.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Jane Carroll said: “This case highlights the fact that a failure to properly assess the risks within a workplace and take effective remedial action can lead to poor practices developing and employees being injured.”

Robert Rose, operations director at Encirc commented: “Encirc regrets the incident which caused injuries to two of our staff, Mr Bennett and Mr Langton. Thankfully both were able to make full recoveries.

“Encirc has been working closely and diligently ever since with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure the mould shop and its processes meet the highest possible safety standards.

“The use of aerosols in the area where the accident occurred is now prohibited and a separate zone has been designated while all operatives have been trained in the new procedures and activities have been subjected to a new risk assessment process.”