Last reviewed 20 September 2023

Weir Minerals Europe Ltd, an engineering company servicing the minerals and mining industry, has been fined £200,000 after workers were injured by an explosion.

Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court heard how three workers at sustained burns while operating a furnace at Weir Minerals’ site in Todmorden on 25 February 2020. The workers had been melting a large amount of steel before an explosion took place in the furnace. It had most likely been caused by water entering the furnace while the workers were adding in the scrap metal.

The three men suffered burns to their faces, heads and backs. There was also resulting damage to the surrounding equipment.

Investigating Health and Safety Executive officers found that although the company was aware of the risk associated with wet scrap metal being added to the furnace the protection from rain that was in place at the time of the incident was not adequately implemented and maintained.

Weir Minerals Europe pleaded guilty to breaching s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £6095.

Employers are reminded to review their own arrangements to ensure that:

  • suitable work practices have been drawn up and supervision is adequate to ensure that they are followed including the need to prevent water, or other liquids, from entering furnaces

  • employees are given appropriate information, instruction and training on the dangers from working with molten metal, the dangers from liquid contamination entering the furnace, and the need to follow safe working practices including correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • PPE including clothing suitable for use in molten metal environments is provided and used.