Machinery repair company Ravenhill Limited, who are based at the Moycroft Industrial Estate in Elgin, admitted breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, 1974, when their case was heard at Peterhead Sheriff Court.
The firm landed in court after employee Norman Thomson suffered severe burns to his face and hands after being caught in a flash fire in December, 2011.
Mr Thomson had seen smoke escaping from a shed door but he sustained the injuries when he opened it to investigate. By the time work colleagues reached him his jacked had already burned and his back was on fire.
Sheriff Andrew Miller was told that the fire had been caused by exhaust fumes from a pressure washer that had been left running in the shed at Ravenhill’s Maud base. Sheriff Miller said that he considered it a “serious breach” of the legislation, however, he accepted that in the circumstances the risk was not obvious.
After the case HSE principal inspector Niall Miller commented that the incident could have been avoided, adding that Ravenhill did have a written ‘safe working procedure’ for the washer and it was clear that it should only be used in a well-ventilated area.
Mr Miller added: “The need for ventilation to prevent such incidences of combustion is well known and was acknowledged and documented by the company itself. Making sure this happened would have been straight forward.”