£1.8 million fine for Steel Company following explosion
Published: 09 Oct 2019

Celsa Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, a steel company in Cardiff, has been fined following an explosion that killed two workers and seriously injured another - at the Celsa Steelworks site in Cardiff.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found that the explosion would have came without warning to the employees, Peter O'Brien and Mark Sim, who both died at the company's Rod and Bar Mill. Another employee, Darren Wood also suffered serious injuries. Cardiff Crown Court heard how on 18 November 2015, the electrical engineer Peter, who was 51 years old, was working with Mark, the mechanical engineer, in the basement of the site. They were both busy working on an accumulator vessel when it exploded. 

The HSE's investigation found that a flammable atmosphere had developed within the accumulator, as a result of the draining of the hydraulic lubrication oil - the process of manually draining hydraulic lubrication oil is known as a 'blow down', and has developed as a local custom and practice among the employees of the Company - this procedure was not fully understood or consistently carried out by the employees, this exposed them to the risk of the explosion. 

Celsa Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, of Castle Works, at East Moors Road Cardiff, pleaded guilty to breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations SI 1999/3242 - as a result the company was fined £1.8 million, and ordered to pay costs of £145,771.85. 

Commenting after the hearing, HSE inspector Lee Schilling has said, "This incident, which had devastating consequences for all of those involved, was entirely preventable. The company failed to assess the risks of the maintenance work and identify suitable control measures to prevent an explosion."