Two workers were injured in a flash fire on a printing press in Waltham Forest.
The two unnamed men were at work for Delta Display Ltd at the time of the incident in May 2011. They had been tasked with cleaning the blankets of the printing press. These blankets regularly get covered in ink and need cleaning by hand.
The two men used a cleaning fluid provided by the company, but whilst they were undertaking the task a flash fire occurred. Vapours from the cleaning fluid ignited and caused a fireball explosion.
Both of the workers suffered burn injuries in the accident, and one of them suffered other injuries as he tried to escape the fire. He suffered broken bones in both of his legs as he jumped from the printing press to safety.
The Health and Safety Executive found that the company had ignored advice from the printing press manufacturers, and given the men the wrong kind of cleaning fluid. The press manufacturers had warned that using any cleaning solvent with a flash point below 55°C could cause an explosion. However, the men had been given cleaning solvent with a flash point of -20°C.
The company has been to Westminster Magistrates’ Court this week, and pleaded guilty to breaking Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations. They were fined £12,000.