A FIRM which was fined £100,000 after an employee had a "painful" allergic reaction has "apologised unreservedly".

Reading Magistrates’ court heard how, on April 24, 2019, an employee at Xtrac Ltd was splashed on the face and upper body with metalworking fluid whilst cleaning out a grinding machine at a manufacturing site in Thatcham.

As a result of the contact the employee had an allergic reaction, consisting of a very painful burning sensation, inflamed, broken and oozing skin, and was diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis.

READ MORE: Firm fined £100K after employee has 'painful' allergic reaction to being 'splashed' with metalworking fluid

On May 20, 2021, District Judge Sophie Toms, sitting at Reading Magistrates’ Court, heard submissions from both parties and ruled that the incident fell under medium culpability and harm for the purposes of the Sentencing Council’s Definitive Guideline for Health and Safety Offences.

Noting that systems were in place but were not sufficiently adhered to or implemented, Judge Toms said the employee was known to suffer from dermatitis.

Xtrac Ltd of Gables Way, Kennet Park, Thatcham pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

They were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £639.59.

Accepting the court’s findings, Xtrac’s CEO, Adrian Moore, said: “We apologise unreservedly to our employee for failing to meet our legal obligations, and acknowledge and appreciate the judge’s comments.”

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Since that incident two years ago, the company said it has strengthened its processes and systems, implemented enhanced health surveillance, procured an alternative metalworking fluid, provided bespoke health and safety training for key personnel, and upgraded its standards for personal protective equipment.

“Safety is a core value in our business, and we recognise our moral and legal responsibilities to provide a safe environment for our employees, contractors, and visitors,” said Moore.

“We continually invest in the latest technology and training to prevent accidents and provide employees with the knowledge to make safe choices.

“We actively encourage all our employees, many of whom are shareholders, to be involved in our drive for continual improvement. And we have increased investment in health and safety programmes, including additional training and the recruitment of a full-time HSE manager.”