Petcare company, Nestle Purina has been fined after five workers suffered severe burns when a steam pressure system malfunctioned.

The five men were all working on the maintenance of a hydrostat, a high-pressure food-processing machine, when they were hit by an uncontrolled release of steam and boiling water.

Due to the incident all five men suffered severe burns to their face, arms and hand,with one man needing cosmetic surgery to his arm to rectify the damage caused by the blast.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the hydrostat control systems had been replaced prior to the maintenance work but no proper assessment of the risks associated with these modifications was undertaken. The firm was fined £50,000 with £22,634.15 costs for failing to ensure the steam pressure system its employees were working on was safe.

After the hearing HSE inspector, Peter Burns, said:

“This incident highlights the need for companies to plan and implement all projects with a clear health and safety oversight. In particular, there are strict rules and regulations around the modifications and repairs of high pressure systems that are in place to protect workers operating or maintaining these machines.

“Had Nestle Purina followed these regulations properly, this incident may have been avoided and these five men may not have suffered the injuries they did.