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Pet food firm sentenced for safety failings

Date:
12 June 2015

A pet food manufacturer has been sentenced today after exposing its employees to chlorine gas during cleaning of equipment at its plant in Nottinghamshire. 

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard employees were further exposed to hydrogen sulphide fumes at the same premises whilst clearing a blockage from another piece of equipment. 

Sarval Limited, which produces animal feed ingredients from by-products, was in court to hear the prosecution for the Health and Safety Executive tell the court one of Sarval’s employees was overcome by hydrogen sulphide fumes produced by decomposing feathers as he cleared a blockage from a hydrolyser on 12 February 2012. 

The company had failed to provide to employees adequate training and a safe system of work for clearing blockages.  

Then, on the 15 May 2015 another incident saw a release of chlorine gas from a scrubber during a routine cleaning operation when hydrochloric acid was added to a sump containing sodium hypochlorite.  Again, employees involved in the cleaning operation had not received the necessary training and instruction.  

Both incidents occurred at the company’s Stoke Lane plant in Stoke Bardolph, Nottinghamshire. 

Sarval Limited of Ings Road, Doncaster, South Yorkshire pleaded guilty to two breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and 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 Limited 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”. 

Notes to Editors: 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. hse.gov.uk[2]
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974 states: ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.’
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press

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