Hartlepool firm fined £30,000 over radiation burns

A firm has been fined £30,000 after a worker was burned by "potentially fatal" levels of radiation.

The man was working on X-ray equipment at Mistras ETS in Hartlepool in 2012 when he suffered "severe" tissue damage to his fingers.

Teesside Crown Court heard how radiation exposure to his fingertips "exceeded the maximum dose" and left him with permanent numbness.

The company admitted breaching heath and safety laws.

The court heard how the man, who has not been named, had been working with X-ray equipment in a radiation bay when a separate team was asked to test safety equipment.

The other employees had developed an "ad hoc test method" that involved turning off safety access controls and warning alarms for the radiography bays.

'Vital organs'

It meant that during one test the injured worker remained in a radiation bay while the X-ray was energised.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that workers had not used the X-ray to test the safety equipment before and that there were "no procedures in place" for them to carry out the tests safely.

The company was also ordered to pay £4,930 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Wilson, said: "The level of X-ray radiation to which this worker was exposed was capable of causing serious ill-health, including the potential for death if the X-rays had hit vital organs of his body.

"This incident could have been easily prevented if Mistras ETS Ltd had ensured proper planning and control of the work... where suitable precautions are not taken it can be very dangerous, with the potential for fatal consequences."

The company, based at Graythorpe Industrial Estate, provides industrial radiography services, including X-rays.

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