A WORKER'S leg had to be amputated after he suffered appalling cement burns while laying a concrete floor.
Handyman Kevan Bloomfield of Gravesend, Kent, was helping to lay the floor at the rear of premises owned by Astell Scientific (Holdings) in Sidcup. The site was inaccessible to the concrete deliveryman so Mr Bloomfield had to carry it by wheelbarrow to where it was used.
He kneeled in the concrete wearing only ripped jeans and wellington boots to protect his legs. He worked in this position between 9 am and 12.30 pm, soaking the jeans with a mixture of cement and water.
When Mr Bloomfield completed the job, he removed the trousers to find his legs had been burned black by the chemicals in the cement. According to Mr Bloomfield, he was able to see areas where 'the burns went all the way through to the bone'.
He was taken to the specialist burns unit at East Grinstead hospital, West Sussex, where he was diagnosed as having full-thickness chemical burns. He spent three months recuperating but doctors failed to save his right leg.
Astell Scientific (Holdings) was fined £10,000 last week at Croydon Crown Court after being found guilty of health and safety breaches.
The court heard the firm had not carried out a risk assessment before starting the work in February last year and was unaware of the risks of working with cement.
Health and Safety Executive inspector Emma Pettit said it was the most serious case of concrete burns it had ever uncovered.
She said the case should serve as a warning to anyone who works with cement to use the correct safety precautions.
Ms Pettit added: 'Workers must be provided with and wear clothes to protect skin from cement, such as gloves, overalls and boots.'