Petrol fire leaves groundworker with serious burns

groundworker petrol fire

A worker suffered serious burns when a co-worker used petrol on a bonfire at a site in Kent.

The groundworks contractor carrying out the works received a £10,000 fine.

On 24 June 2020, a 26-year-old groundworker was working for Kent County Surfacing on a residential development in Ramsgate.

The groundworker was unaware that a co-worker had poured petrol on a bonfire. When instructed to light the bonfire, it engulfed him in flames as the petrol vapour ignited. The worker suffered serious burns and underwent skin graft operations to his left hand, left arm, torso and both legs.

Groundworkers help prepare a construction site and ensure it is ready for the structural work to start.

Failure to supervise

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to appropriately supervise their operatives. It also failed to provide them with the appropriate information and instruction, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure work could be carried out without risk to health or safety.

At Folkestone Magistrates on 10 October, Kent County Surfacing Ltd, of 7 Mariners View, Deal, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 15 (8) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations. It received a £10,000 fine and was ordered to pay costs of £7,333.42.

HSE inspector Ross Carter said: “The operative’s injuries are life-changing and could have easily been fatal.

“This serious incident and devastation should have been avoided if those in control of the work provided the appropriate supervision, information and instructions to their workers.”

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