Factory is handed £10,978 court bill

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A FIRM from Fosdyke has been ordered to pay almost £11,000 after a chemical mix-up left three workers with breathing difficulties.

The three workers had to be taken to hospital when two cleaning chemicals reacted to produce a toxic gas at vegetable grower and supplier Emmett UK Ltd on September 11, 2009.

The company, based in Washway Road, pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 12 (1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 at a hearing at Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

The court heard how a Latvian agency worker was cleaning food processing machinery when he accidentally mixed the two cleaning chemicals together, which reacted to produce a toxic gas.

As a result, the factory was evacuated and three workers taken to hospital, although all were back at work within days.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution against the firm, found it had failed to provide suitable and sufficient information and instruction to the worker about the risks from the incorrect use of chemicals.

HSE inspector Jo Anderson said: “This incident was entirely preventable had the company ensured that all agency workers were given adequate information, instruction and training.

“Our investigation also showed that there was almost no consideration given to the fact that some of the workers spoke very little English.

“As a direct result, three workers were taken to hospital for treatment and were lucky not to be more seriously harmed.”

The court fined Emmett UK Ltd £8,500 and ordered them to pay full costs of £2,478.