Chemicals Europe Limited and Capper Industrial Contractors have been fined following safety failings on two separate occasions.
Chester Crown Court heard how the first incident which occurred at Tata Chemicals Europe Limited (TCEL) plant in Lostock, when an employee of Cappers Industrial Contractors (CIC) was engulfed in hot caustic lime dust and sustained chemical burn whilst he was operating an open fronted vehicle to shovel a mound of hot/wet lime which slumped into the open cab.
An investigation by the HSE into the incident found that unsafe work methods meant employees exposure to levels of dust was higher than they had to be.
The second incident occurred at the Winnington Plant when an employee of TCEL was on a walkway eight feet high when the grating failed and he fell through and became trapped up to his waist in a corroded section of the grating, fortunately without serious injury.
Had the business undertaken adequate risk and COSHH assessments it should have clearly recognised the risks posed by such corrosive substances. It makes you wonder how such a large business can become complacent to the risks posed to their employees and others.
An investigation by the HSE into the incident found that the company did not have an adequate inspection regime for the walkway, and did not ensure it was maintained in good condition.
Tata Chemicals Europe Limited, of Northwich, was fined a total of £349,850, with costs of £58,392 after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and an offence under Regulation 12 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Capper Group Industrial Contractors Limited of Northwich, was fined a total of £10,000, and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The HSE later commented that both of these incidents could have been entirely prevented with regular assessment of risks, inspection of work equipment, and ensuring correct safety procedures were in place.