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A teenager who sustained facial injuries during an accident while he did work experience could seek compensation for his injuries.
Bret Thomas was just 16 years old when he suffered burns to his face after toxic paint stripper splashed into his eyes and face while he was completing a placement at vehicle repair firm Motorhouse 2000 in Cannock, West Midlands, in January last year.
The school pupil had his vision affected for a month after the incident and also now has permanent scarring injuries on his face.
In addition, he still endures sensitivity with his eyes and has been told he will suffer with migraines for the rest of his life.
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that the boy - who had been on an extended work placement with the company since September 2011 - was told to help an employee who was refilling the plant's wheel stripping tank.
After pouring the toxic fluid into the containers, the professional was then handing them to Bret to remove the labels and cut them in half before disposing of them. However, while he was cutting the last of the containers up, some of the substance flicked up and hit his face.
The HSE established that Motorhouse 2000 had not provided the youngster with any equipment to protect his eyes or face and had changed to this method of stripping paint from their previous mechanical system purely to save time.
Stafford Magistrates' Court was told that the company had failed to conduct a proper risk assessment before making this change and the firm subsequently admitted breaching the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Katherine Blunt, inspector at the HSE, commented: "This young man has suffered an extremely painful ordeal in an accident that was totally preventable. The impact will be long lasting but Bret could have been blinded for life."
Posted by Emily Swanson
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