A food waste disposal and recycling firm has been fined £250,000 after three employees were overcome by toxic gases, including hydrogen sulphide, and a reduced oxygen atmosphere in an animal waste facility in Stoke-on-Trent.
Prosecuting, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told Stafford Crown Court that, on 23 April 2014, an employee of John Pointon and Sons Limited accessed a compartment within an animal waste trailer to free animal waste and was overcome by the gases.
Subsequently, two further employees entered the waste compartment and were also overcome by the gases.
The court heard that this preventable incident could have resulted in fatalities and that the company had been prosecuted twice before for two fatal incidents which involved confined space entry within a processing plant.
John Pointon and Sons Limited, of Bones Lane, Cheddleton, Stoke-on-Trent, was fined £250,000 with costs of £37,362 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 5(1) of the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997.
Notes to Editor:
- 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. hse.gov.uk
- More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/
- HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk