Lack of suitable fire risk assessment left eight injured

A Sussex-based recycling company has been fined £60,000 following an explosion and fire at their site in Surrey.

A Crown Court was told that a huge explosion which injured eight staff at a Surrey industrial site, five seriously, including one who was placed in an induced coma and was hospitalised for almost four months, occurred because of a failure to carry out fire risk assessments.

The blast was at the Lingfield premises of Ereco EMEA Corporation, where the company recycled printer toner cartridges.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service found that Ereco failed to ensure there was a safe system of work in place to reduce the risk of dangerous substances. A plan should have been completed as a result of suitable fire risks assessments and following guidelines in the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002.

Ereco EMEA pleased guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company also pleaded guilty to an offence under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 of failing to take general fire precautions.

At Portsmouth Crown Court the company was fined £30,000, £15,000 for each offence. The firm was also ordered to pay costs of £30,000.

The designer of the machine used to shred and process the toner cartridges, Paramount Waste Extraction was also fined £16,000, plus the same amount in costs, for breaching Section 3 (1) of the Healthy and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Original source

Health and Safety Executive