Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Molten Metal Spillage At Tata Causes Grave Injuries To Its Worker


The HSE investigation finds Tata Steel UK guilty of breaching safety measurements whereby one of its workers “sustained life threatening injuries”.

Dailycsr.com – 18 November 2015 – On the 9th of March 2012, the worker at Tata furnace witnessed “life threatening injuries”, whereby twenty five tonnes of “molten metal” were spilt from a furnace due to “a control system fault”.
As per the normal guidance, the worker at charge and one of his colleague “began to hose water onto the spilled metal” in order to cool down the same, however, the contact of water proved to be fatal as immediately “an explosion” took place at the location.
People present at the scene were prompt at reaching out to help the victim on whom the molten metal had fallen like showering fire. The former also “applied a burn shield” on the victim before rushing him to the hospital, while “two other employees” were injured in a minor way.
The predecessors of the victim had also been working with the Tata from the year of 1979. The victim who received the shower of molten metal was admitted into “intensive care” of a “specialist burns unit” wherein he remained in a state of “coma for three weeks”. Following the three weeks’ period, he went through “numerous skin grafts” along with “reconstructive surgery to his eyes, ears and forehead”.
In spite of such grave injuries, the worker has returned to the work place, although he can no longer sustain being in “high temperature areas”. As per the information provided at the Sheffield Crown Court on the 11th of November 2015, the control system of furnace that failed was damaged by a fire, “a few weeks” prior to the “incident”. Consequently, a temporary makeshift fix were fitted while the “new parts” were being awaited.
On the fateful day of the event, an electrician was instructed to “remove the temporary fix” for it was thought that the “the fault had been remedied”. Describing the mechanical fault, the HSE writes:
“Molten metal was being poured from the furnace into a ladle underneath for the first time since the fix removal. As the metal poured, an alarm activated, locking the furnace into position. A furnace worker tried the emergency return, which should have returned the furnace and stopped the molten metal discharging, but this failed”.
The infestations conducted by the HSE revealed that the company was not equipped to deal with the “spillages of molten metal” which came along with a failure to assess the adequate risks involved. This makes it clear that it was a “normal practice for workers” to “hose water” onto molten metal in case any spillage occurred, although it is a “well known” fact “within the industry” that water penetrating the surface of molten metal leads to an explosion. Consequently, “Tata Steel UK was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay £82,979 in costs after it pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act”.
Denise Fotheringham, the inspector of HSE stated:
“The company’s business is to make steel, but they had no procedures for dealing with these spillages, leading to employees using hoses to cool the metal. This was very dangerous but the scale of risk had not been recognised by workers, who had received no other information or instruction on what to do.”
Furthermore, she informed that Tata Company has ceased the practice of hosing water onto molten metal, while adding:
“If the company had done this prior to the incident, this worker and his family would not be where they are today”.