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Suffolk company prosecuted after factory explosion

Storeys Industrial Products was fined £350,000 at Chelmsford Crown Court following an explosion on which left a 55-year-old worker with serious burns.

The company, formerly known as Wardle Storeys, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to ensure the health and safety of their employees while at work.

John Balls sustained injuries to his face, chest, abdomen and hands after an explosion in November 2005, at its factory at Brantham Works, Brantham, in Suffolk.

The explosion and subsequent fire at the factory was caused by the inappropriate handling and use of dried Nitrocellulose prior to mixing. Storeys is currently in administration.

HM Inspector of Health and Safety, John Hawkins said: "Although the company is now in administration, the HSE believe that it was important to proceed with the prosecution in the public interest, due to the serious nature of the incident.

"John Balls' injuries could and should have been avoided by straightforward safety precautions. The company should have re-assessed the risk following changes to their manufacturing procedures."

The firm was also ordered to pay £60,000 in costs.