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Chlorine gas danger caused by inadequately trained cleaners leads to heavy fine
Pet food manufacturer Sarval has been sentenced this week after employees were exposed to chlorine gas during the cleaning of equipment at the company's Nottinghamshire plant. The Court heard that employees were further exposed to hydrogen sulphide fumes at the same premises when a blockage was cleared from another piece of equipment.
The Health & Safety Executive told the Court that on 15th May this year, there was a release of chlorine gas from a scrubber during a routine cleaning operation when hydrochloric acid was added to a sump containing sodium hypochlorite.
It also told of another incident in 2013 when one of Sarval's employees was overcome by hydrogen sulphide fumes produced by decomposing feathers as he cleared a blockage from a hydrolyser in February 2012. It said that employees involved in the cleaning operation had not received the necessary training and instruction that the company had failed to provide to employees adequate training and a safe system of work for clearing blockages.
Sarval, of Doncaster, South Yorkshire pleaded guilty to two breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act and was fined £40, 000 with £19, 550 costs.
Following the case, HSE Inspector Samantha Farrar said: "These were entirely preventable incidents.
Sarval failed to give adequate consideration to the risk of exposure to toxic gases produced by its work activity. Training, instruction and emergency arrangements were all inadequate. As a result, employees were put at significant risk and it was only by good fortune that there was no loss of life."
9th July 2015