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Workshop fined £28,000 for safety breaches that led to blaze

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A Birmingham workshop has been prosecuted recently for safety failings after two workers used brake cleaning fluid to degrease walls and caused a flash fire.

Both workers required hospital treatment for burns after the incident.

Birmingham Magistrates Court was told last month the two employees used brake clearning fluid to clean the grease from the walls of a vehicle inspection pit at the STA Vehicle Centres workshop at Starley Way, Birmingham, on March 27, 2020.

Shortly afterwards there was a loud bang and the wall of the pit became engulfed in flames.

One worker escaped the pit and ran to pull out his colleague whose clothing was alight - he sustained 60% burns and underwent five skin graft operations.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the company failed to carry out a risk assessment, had not considered replacing the dangerous substance with a non-flammable one nor using a different work process.

The employees were not aware of the increased risks associated with using flammable fluid in a poorly ventilated area nor the need for appropriate PPE.

STA Vehicle Centres of Halesfield, Telford, pleaded guilty to breaching section 6 (1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and was fined £28,000 plus £926.17 costs.

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