Hamilton flooring company fined after fireball burns worker

Hamilton Flooring was fined in court for failing to ensure the safety of its employees. Photo / File
Hamilton Flooring was fined in court for failing to ensure the safety of its employees. Photo / File

A Hamilton flooring company has been ordered to pay a total of $57,607 after a worker sustained serious burns to his calves and arm when the adhesive he was using caught fire.

Hamilton Flooring was fined $33,125 in reparations and fined $24,482 at Hamilton District Court for failing to ensure the safety of its employees by making sure they were not exposed to hazards.

Sentencing took place on August 5, but the judge's reserved decision was released today.

The worker was applying a highly flammable solvent-based adhesive with a paint brush in a bathroom in Ward 35 at the Henry Rongamau Bennett Centre last August.

His co-worker was using a LPG gas blow torch nearby when the flame from the blowtorch combusted with the adhesive vapours and formed a fireball, burning the worker's calves and right arm.

WorkSafe NZ prosecuted the commercial and residential flooring company after an investigation found it should have made sure that no ignition sources were around when using a flammable adhesive and that the bathroom was safely ventilated.

The company also failed to ensure protective equipment was worn by the workers while the adhesive was applied.

WorkSafe chief inspector Keith Stewart said there was always a high risk when working with fire and flammable substances.

"Unfortunately the consequences of not adequately managing this risk have resulted in significant pain and injury to a worker."

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