By Cherry Park
A beautician in Lancashire was engulfed in flames and suffered severe burns to her chest, neck and arms after using acetone to remove false fingernails.
Blackpool Magistrates’ Court heard that spa manager Julie McKeown had been manicuring the an elderly woman’s nails at the Dalmeny Hotel in Lytham St. Annes in January 2012, pouring the highly-flammable liquid onto pads.
Fumes from liquid acetone spilled from the 2.5-litre container and were ignited by the naked flame of a nearby tealight placed in an open lantern, creating a fireball, which engulfed Mrs McKeown, causing burns to 15 per cent of her body. She later underwent skin grafts in hospital. The customer was not injured.
Dalmeny Hotel pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined a total of £16,000 plus £9,075 in costs.
Fylde Council, which investigated the incident, found that if a smaller container had been provided the spillage would have been less likely.
Micky Duck, environmental health officer for the Council, said: “Fumes from spilled acetone are heavier than air so they sank to the floor and, as they did so, were ignited by the tealight in the lantern causing the conflagration which engulfed Mrs McKeown.
“The Council found that the hotel had not adequately assessed the risks caused by use of such a large container of acetone and also by the proximity of the tealight.”