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Court Summary - at a glance
- Assess the hazards involved with the employees, such as entering and cleaning the vat, and implement safe operating and emergency procedures for cleaning the vat;
- Ensure employees are adequately trained in safe operating and emergency procedures, and supervised to enter and clean the vat;
- Ensure employees are provided with and have access to information about the hazards they may create, or be exposed to, while using chemical substances to clean the vat;
- Ensure the use of suitable clothing and equipment to protect employees from harm while using the chemical cleaning substances; and
- Ensuring adequate training of first aid measures for harm that may be caused by the use of chemical substances used by employees was provided to all staff.
On 5 August, both workers were manually cleaning a stainless steel milk storage vat following milking, as the automatic cleaning system was broken. To clean the vat, 10 litres of water were mixed with 20mls of “Avoid” (a heavy duty alkaline cleaning product). The lesser experienced employee climbed into the vat to clear the walls of the vat and the other poured the mixed solution into the bottom of the vat.
Upon completion, one of the employees after taking off her overalls, noticed her knee as burning and advised a director of the defendant company. She was advised to place her knee in a bucket of warm water but to no avail. Then she was given Aquaklenz HV (an acidic heavy duty cleaner) with warm water. The first aid the employee received was not recommended first aid on the safety data sheet for “Avoid”.