A WINDERMERE garage has been fined £6,000 after a mechanic was badly burned while trying to cut the top off an empty oil drum.

Richard Simpson was using a propane torch to remove the lid when the remaining oil inside the drum set alight, causing an explosion.

He suffered burns to his hands and arms and was kept in hospital for five days.

The owner of Windermere Auto Centre, Kankku Ltd, pleaded guilty to the incident today (Tuesday) at South Lakeland Magistrates' Court.

Prosecuting was the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which said the company failed to consider the risk of the propane torch creating and igniting a vapour from the small amount of oil remaining in the drums.

Kankku Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 by failing to minimise the risks to which employees were exposed.

The company, of Victoria Street, was also ordered to pay £4,746 in prosecution costs and £500 in compensation to the injured worker.