Chemical burn results in fine for hotel

THE PROPRIETER of a West Sussex hotel has been fined £2,500 after an employee received chemical burns to her face from a beer line cleaner.

The incident happened on April 26 2011 at the Castle Hotel in Bramber when a 30 year old female worker there washed drinking glasses by hand to remove a cloudy staining which had appeared on the glasses.

On October 23 2011, Horsham Magistrates heard that the hotel proprietor, Mr Steve Mitchell, instructed the employee to use a solution of water and beer line cleaner to get the glasses clean.

He advised her to wear a pair of rubber gloves but when carrying out the operation some of the solution got onto her face causing an immediate burning sensation.

She later sought medical attention and still has visible scaring to her face.

Horsham District Council (environmental health) subsequently investigated and concluded that the injury was entirely preventable and foreseeable.

The beer line cleaner was not intended to be used to clean glasses and that the company had failed to satisfy the required duty of care owed to its employees by not adequately assessing the risks.

After hearing evidence, the court found the hotel proprietor guilty under Section 2 of the Health and Safety etc at Work Act 1974.

The company was also ordered to pay £2,200 costs and a victim surcharge of £15.

Speaking after the court hearing, councillor Roger Arthur, cabinet member for a Safer and Healthier District at Horsham District Council, said: “Individuals should be able to attend work without undue risk of injury, pain and distress.

“Businesses are legally required to take reasonable measures to control workplace hazards, through effective safe systems of work and through risk assessments.

“I hope that the action we have taken will prompt local businesses to review the adequacy and effectiveness of their safety procedures.”

Further information about safety in the workplace is available from Horsham District Council online at www.horsham.gov.uk/health/1212.aspx or by calling 01403 215421.