A dairy farm business has been ordered to pay out nearly £20,000 after an employee was permanently blinded by a corrosive material used in cleaning.
A court heard that in August 2017, the worker was cleaning the walls of Old House Farm in North Dean, Buckinghamshire using a corrosive disinfectant DM CiD containing potassium hydroxide.
The pump sprayer 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.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Beechdean Farm Ltd, part of the Beechdean Group, failed to plan and supervise the use of chemicals for cleaning the dairy.
The safety watchdog said the firm did not have effective emergency arrangements in place.
High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court has now found the the business guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
It has been fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,879.94.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said the incident could 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.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards,” he said.
Recently released figures show that 14,000 people experienced non-fatal injuries in the agricultural workplace during 2018/2019.