A chemical company has been fined after releasing a cloud of toxic chlorine gas that spread through its factory, yard and surrounding area resulting in staff needing hospital treatment and significant damage to the factory.
What leads to the fine?
A chemical company, Wiltshire company GEA farm technologies (UK) ltd mistakenly mixed an intermediate bulk container (IBC) containing approximately 700 kg of concentrated sulfuric acid into a mixing vessel already containing 1600litres solution of sodium hypochlorite on 12 June 2019.
As a result of the mixing, there was a release of a large cloud of toxic chlorine gas into the environment. The workers in the factory and the surrounding area were affected. There was no clear evacuation plan from the company during that time. Later, they took the workers to the hospital. And some suffered breathing difficulties with no long-term effect.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the incident happened because a dedicated mixing plant went for maintenance and is yet to be available. Also, the company had failed to introduce effective records management for the temporary manual system.
What was the fine for the toxic chlorine gas release incidence?
The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,000 at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on 4 October 2022.
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Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.