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Chemical company fined for acid fumes exposure
Airedale Chemical Company, which manufactures and distributes surfactants to a number of brand leaders in the cleaning chemicals sector, has been fined as a result of an incident whereby people at a neighbouring company were exposed to nitric acid fumes.
In April 2014, employees from Joda Freight were exposed to the chemical fumes during transfer of the substance from a road tanker into a storage vessel. The fumes escaped through a vent situated on the roof of the Airedale building that housed the nitric acid storage tank.
Towards the end of the transfer the driver was alerted by an Airedale employee that there were complaints about fumes from a neighbouring site. At this time the driver was venting the road tanker through the system.
Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court heard how an employee in the Joda Freight workshop was working outside, immediately below the nitric acid vent pipe and was hospitalised the day after the incident, with nitric acid exposure.
On Monday, Airedale Chemical Company, of Keighley, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £12,000 with costs of £3,318.
HSE inspector Caroline Skingle says of the case: "Airedale Chemical Company is a lower tier site under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations by virtue of storage and use of hazardous chemicals including nitric acid.
"There is a high level of public concern about such sites and they should adequately control the risks that arise from their operations. On this occasion the company fell short of the required control standards for the safe transfer of corrosive nitric acid which resulted in people being affected offsite."
23rd July 2015