Firm fined £150,000 after workers death

A company has been fined after a young worker died when a high pressure valve he was testing blasted into his chest killing him instantly.

Flowserve (GB), who employ 14,000 people in 56 countries, is involved in everything from valves for desalination plants to oil industry equipment, was fined £150,000 at Lewes Crown Court following the death of a 21-year-old Philip Locke.

Mr Locke died not long after the accident at Flowserve (GB)’s site in Burrell Road in Haywards Heath, while he was pressure testing the valve equipment.

It is believed during the test the valve he was working on broke away with such force that it hit Mr Locke causing fatal chest injuries in May 2008.

A subsequent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered the company had not carried out an adequate risk assessment and did not understand the dangers parts, such as the vent valve, posed if they came away during testing.

It also revealed the vent value had not been installed properly and there was no guard, which could have prevented it injuring Mr Locke, when it came away from the machine at high pressure.

At Lewes Crown Court last week Flowserve (GB) pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £66,838.

After the case, HSE inspector, Russell Beckett, said: “As this case tragically shows this type of work needs to be properly managed when machines are being used as well as when they are just being tested in order to reduce risks.

“Had Flowserve (GB) carried out a specific risk assessment on the machine it would have realised the process was unsafe.

“The company could easily have modified the system of work and the death of Mr Locke could have been prevented.”

Luke Walsh

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