Flowserve ordered to pay £211,868 after worker death

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Risk assessment, Risk

Processing equipment supplier Flowserve GB has been ordered to pay £211,863 after its flouting of health and safety rules lead to the death of an employee.

The company was prosecuted by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after worker Philip Locke was killed in an industrial accident at its facility in Haywards Heath, England. The death could have been avoided if the Flowserve had carried out a proper risk assessment, said the safety body.

Mr Locke received fatal injuries while carrying out a pressure test on a high pressure valve in May 2008. It is believed that during the test the vent valve became detached from the machine and hit the 21-year-old at high speed, causing fatal chest injuries.

Judgement

Earlier this month, a judge at Lewes Crown Court, West Sussex, fined Flowserve £150,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £66,863. The multinational company, which supplies pumps, valves, seals, automation, and services to range of industries including food and beverage processors, had admitted breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The HSE said its probe had found the company had not carried out an adequate risk assessment and had failed to recognise the risk of parts, such as the vent valve, detaching during the pressure testing. The body added that the value had been incorrectly installed. The company should also have fitted a guard to the back of the machine which would have prevented the vent value injuring Mr Locke when it separated from the machine at high pressure.

Key lessons

"This case highlights some key lessons for Flowserve and companies like it,”​ HSE inspector Russell Beckett said.

He added it was vital that this type of work needed to be properly managed both when machines were being used and tested in order to reduce risks.

"Had Flowserve (GB) Ltd carried out a specific risk assessment on the machine it would have realised the process was unsafe,”​ said the inspector. “The company could easily have modified the system of work and the death of Mr Locke could have been prevented."

A Flowserve spokesman told FoodProductionDaily.com it was committed to the health and safety of its staff and invested substantially in such training. In the two years since the incident, the company said it had been working closely with the HSE regarding the investigation and that the court hearing represented the final step in the formal investigation process.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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