A dairy farm has been fined following an incident in which an employee was permanently blinded by corrosive chemicals used in cleaning.
In August 2017, an employee was cleaning the walls of the dairy farm at Old House Farm in North Dean, Buckinghamshire, using a corrosive disinfectant DM CiD, which contains potassium hydroxide. The pump sprayer being used unexpectedly developed a fault and ruptured into the face of the employee. His face became covered in the caustic and corrosive disinfectant, rendering him permanently blind in both eyes.
The HSE’s investigation found that Beechdean Farm Limited failed to plan and supervise the use of chemicals for cleaning the dairy and did not have effective emergency arrangements in place.
Beechdean Farm Limited of North Dean, Buckinghamshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 with costs of £11,879.94.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Stephen Faulkner said
“While it was possible for both the pump sprayer and the chemical to be used for cleaning, this incident could so easily have been avoided by implementing correct control measures, safe working practices and appropriate emergency arrangements.
“Agriculture is an industry with a high accident rate, and the chemicals and activity involved in this incident are common in dairy farming, so this case should send a message to farms about the dangers of working with chemicals.”