South Yorkshire firm fined £140,000 after woman scorched by 'burning cloud'

Pyronix Limited in Hellaby, Rotherham
Pyronix Limited in Hellaby, Rotherham
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A South Yorkshire firm has been hit with a huge fine after a worker was scorched by a 'burning cloud'.

The female employee sustained flash burns to her face, neck, chest and arms in the nasty accident at Rotherham-based manufacturer Pyronix.

The firm, which makes intruder alarms, appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court where it admitted breaching safety regulations.

It was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay more than £3,000 in costs.

The court heard how the worker had been dipping printed circuit boards (PCBs) into Fluorocoat Thin Film Coating to protect them against humidity when she was injured in 2015.

As she removed a basket of the PCBs, she saw a 'burning cloud' spread through the tank as the highly flammable substance ignited, and she was unable to avoid being burned.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found improvements were needed to protect workers.

Those modifications, which have since been introduced, include not installing batteries in PCBs until after dipping, and introducing better exhaust ventilation and measures to control static.

Employees of the firm in Hellaby, Rotherham, have also received additional training.

HSE inspector Laura Hunter said: "This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

"Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards."