Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Health and Safety Manager Suffers Serious Burns
Posted by David Cant on February 25, 2011

Even those involved in helping companies maintain health and safety procedures within the workplace are not immune to accidents at work. This was highlighted when a health and safety manager from Chelmsford accidently set himself on fire while at work.

The Health and Safety manager, Philip Dutton, was burning waste materials at the Industrial Metals Services site in Shoebury. It was reported by the Essex Echo that Mr Dutton poured an extremely flammable cleaning product on to the waste that he was burning. The rubbish and timber exploded immediately after the liquid had been introduced to the fire and as a result Mr Dutton was quickly engulfed in the raging fire.

Although the Health and Safety Manager was wearing protective clothing his injuries were still very severe. The safety helmet which he was wearing melted in the intensity of the heat. After the accident Mr Dutton spent three months in an intensive care unit recovering from his extremely painful injuries.

Fines for Foolish Behaviour

The health and safety investigation showed that the fire was down to Mr Dutton’s foolish behaviour. Chelmsford Crown Court found him guilty of failing to protect his own health and safety as well as failing to take care of the health and safety of others on the site. The accident could have been completely avoided had Mr Dutton refrained from throwing the flammable liquid on the fire.

Judge Roger Hayward Smith QC told Mr Dutton that he was extremely foolish for throwing a known flammable liquid onto the burning materials. The court issued a £5000 fine along with a jail sentence for four months; this was suspended for two years. Many employees who witnessed the accident had been left traumatised.
Mr Dutton is now residing in Cyprus where he is hoping that he will be able to recover from the ordeal and rebuild his life.

Fire Risk is not to be Taken Lightly

The Fire and Safety Order 2005 is in place to help make the fire safety process simpler. It also means that the risk assessment and complying with the Fire Safety Order of any business lies with the main duty holder which is the occupier or owner of a premises.

By failing to adhere to the UK Fire Safety regulations means that you could be breaking the law. You are also putting lives at risk and risk facing a large fine, prison sentence and losing your business. There are also huge costs which are caused by damaged goods, stock and structural damage to buildings. This risk can be reduced by ensuring that you carry out fire risk assessments at regular intervals.

Veritas Health and Safety Consultants can help to make sure that you complete a full fire risk assessment which complies with the order. Included with our Fire Risk Assessment we are able to help identify hazards, help reduce the risks, resolve deficiencies check that you are complying fully with the UK fire regulations. To speak to one of our professional fire safety consultants please call us on 0800 1488 677.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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