Cement manufacturers Lafarge Cement UK have been fined £200,000 following an accident in which a quarry worker lost an ear.
The incident, in January 2007, happened close on the heels of an accident at the company’s Northfleet factory (now in phased shut-down) on December 30 2006, when a worker died and three others were injured when a concrete ring inside a steel tube in which cement is made gave way.
Lafarge Cement UK pleaded guilty to two health and safety breaches in relation to the East Lothian incident, in which worker Stuart Richardson suffered severe injuries to his face and arm when he fell into an electric fan.
The fine, which was handed down at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday July 2, was reduced from £300,000 because Lafarge Cement UK had pleaded guilty.
The fan was part of a motor left uncovered in a quarry stacker machine – used to crush limestone for making cement at the Lafarge Cement site in East Lothian. Richardson became caught up in the fan. He was left scarred and his left ear was amputated. He is believed to have either slipped or have been trying to prevent a cable from getting caught in the blades. However, he has no memory of the accident.
The cement manufacturers have also been underfire from the Environment Agency who issued the Westbury factory with a written warning about leaking dioxins in February. One of two kilns tested in February had dioxin levels above the permitted level, although the EA stressed that there was no evidence that either plant or process conditions were unsatisfactory.