A Tyneside autoparts firm could face a personal injury compensation claim after a worker lost his sight in one eye when a compressed air hose hit him in the face.
The injured man was carrying out maintenance work to clean a paint fume filter at Faltec Europe Ltd’s site in Boldon in July last year.
He was stuck in the face after attempting to remove a flexible hose as he was unaware the pressure needed venting beforehand.
The 49-year-old suffered a broken cheekbone and has permanently lost the sight in his right eye but he has been able to return to work.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who prosecuted Faltec Europe Ltd for safety failings at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
The HSE investigation found the company had failed to provide the worker with sufficient information, instruction or training on the equipment he was using when the incident happened.
Faltec Europe Ltd, of Didcot Way, Boldon Business Park, Tyne and Wear was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £7,813.70 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Fiona McGarry said: “This was an entirely preventable incident which has resulted in a worker losing his sight in one eye – an injury which will affect him permanently.
“The sudden release of compressed air is a known hazard in industry. Faltec Europe Ltd should have ensured that there was a safe system of work in place and that anyone working with compressed air had been given sufficient information, instruction and training to keep themselves and others safe from air blasts and whipping or snaking hoses.”
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