Health and safety professionals often get a hard time, but all too frequently a fatal accident occurs that reminds you why we are here, or rather, why we should be here. Such was the case this morning when I read about the tragic death of a worker trapped in an oven at the Piranha canoe factory in Runcorn (read more here).
This appears shockingly similar to the tragic death of two workers in 1998 at Fresha Bakeries who had entered a bread oven before it had cooled to a safe level. The subsequent investigation and prosecution found an absence of safe systems of work and suitable training – the court report makes particularly harrowing reading. The company was fined £373,000.
Clearly the learning from incidents like these needs to be passed on to employers with similar operations. A quick check on the HSE website shows no specific guidance on this area despite its obvious hazardous nature – a point the HSE should perhaps reconsider following its investigation. Workplace fatalities are tragic whatever time of year they occur, however when they happen the day before Christmas somehow it seems so much harder to accept.