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Chemical company fined £200,000 following toxic chemical release

Date:
16 March 2016

A chemical company was sentenced today in Leeds Crown Court for safety breaches when a very toxic chemical was ejected under pressure.

A company maintenance technician unintentionally opened a valve on top of an isotanker at Syngenta Ltd’s Huddersfield plant resulting in the release of between 3.5 and 3.8 tonnes of paraquat dichloride solution. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm over the incident.

Syngenta Ltd of Leeds Road Huddersfield pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Control Of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £200 000 with £13 041 costs by Leeds Crown Court.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Angus Robbins commented: “This incident could have been prevented if Syngenta had properly assessed the real risk of the valve being opened while the tank was under pressure”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/

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