A building products manufacturer, Stressline Limited, were fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,121 after a worker suffered serious cement burns on his first day of work.

The 21-year-old worker was exposed to alkaline cement slurry by standing in a drainage pit with inadequate personal protective equipment which lead to him suffering from chemical burns to his feet and ankles. 

As a result of the incident, the young worker was in hospital for three weeks, requiring plastic surgery.

In a statement provided to the Court, he said: “A year after the accident my feet are scarred. My right foot is worse than my left. I find it difficult still to walk. I don’t know how my feet will improve in the long term. I wouldn't like anyone to go through what I have had to go through”.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have investigated the incident and found that the company had not appreciated that slurry from cured concrete dust posed the same risks as that from cement or wet uncured concrete. As a result, the company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Dr Richenda Dixon said after the hearing: “The risks from concrete and cement are well known in this industry. Companies need to protect agency workers as they are as likely to have injures in the first six months of employment as in the rest of their working lives.”