Worker burned by molten metal at Worcester factory

A Staffordshire-based aluminium casting company has been prosecuted after a man was burned by molten metal at its Worcester factory. Asim Qureshi, 41, from Worcester, was operating a die cast machine at JVM Castings Ltd’s premises in Droitwich Road, when molten metal sprayed from the back of the machine on 27 July 2010. Worcester Magistrates’ Court heard the 650 degrees celsius molten material burned through Mr Qureshi’s clothing after landing on him. He suffered serious burns to his right arm, shoulder, leg and face and was unable to work for two months. He has been left with scarring on his hand and leg. He is still receiving treatment for his burned skin. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the rear of the machine was unguarded and, while personal protective equipment is not a substitute for effective guarding, the operators’ overalls and eye protection were unsuitable for the amount of molten metal spray. The court heard there had been three similar previous incidents of molten aluminium blow backs at the factory, one of which caused serious injuries to another employee seven months before the incident involving Mr Qureshi. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Tariq Khan said: “Despite three previous incidents, one of which caused serious injuries to another worker, JVM Castings failed to learn from them and did not follow the recommendations of its own investigation. “Although blow backs of molten aluminium are potentially foreseeable, when they do happen, they are unpredictable events. A blow back happens when the tip of the ram used to inject the metal into the casting fails. They always pose a high risk to workers because liquid metal under pressure can be thrown over a wide area around the machine. “The company’s risk assessment had identified blow backs as a danger but did not include any measures to remove or reduce the risk. As a result of the company’s failings, a man has suffered serious injuries which could easily have been avoided.” JVM Castings (Worcester) Ltd, of Borman, Apollo, Tamworth, pleaded guilty today to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £4,000 costs.

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