Paint plant ordered to focus on safety training

An “avoidable” situation has led to a paint mixing and manufacturing company providing safety training to staff.

The court ordered training followed a worker getting burned during cleaning activities at the MMP Industrial plant in NSW.

The company was also fined $75,750 for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

According to a statement from SafeWork NSW, general managers and work health and safety officers will undergo training in due diligence, hazardous substances, and electrical compliance in hazardous areas.

“The risk was foreseeable and straightforward control measures could have been used to prevent the incident. The company was also ordered to develop a work health and safety plan that directs senior staff to implement the lessons learned through training in the workplace,” said Tony Williams, SafeWork NSW executive director.

The incident occurred when the worker used acetone, a highly flammable solvent, to clean a paint mixing vat. A static electrical charge then caused a spontaneous ignition of the vapours when the worker was standing half a metre away. The incident was reported to SafeWork NSW seven days later.

Williams highlighted the responsibilities of managers when it comes to safety.

“It is a duty holder’s responsibility to educate themselves on risk management,” he said.

Williams listed a number of preventative measures that could have been taken to avoid the injury.

“Simple measures that could have prevented a worker being injured include installing anti-static wheels on mixing vats, preventing acetone splash by decanting the hose on the side, reducing the flow rate on the hose, and installing a switch that requires two people to operate the hose.”

However, Williams emphasised that training can prevent such an incident occurring in the first place.

“Most importantly – providing comprehensive risk management training to all workers and senior staff,” he said.

MMP Industrial can appeal the finding.