Fire leads to £25,000 fine - Palmers Solicitors

Fire leads to £25,000 fine

An Essex firm has been fined after a fire at its site in Rainham led to the discovery of health and safety breaches.

CLB Refrigeration Ltd, which cleans and refurbishes industrial-sized refrigeration containers, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Southwark Crown Court on 17 February.

The court heard that in October 2012, a 25-litre drum of paint thinners was involved in an incident in which a fireball erupted in a brazier at the company’s site in Ferry Lane, Rainham.

An HSE investigation found that thinners were being used to remove marks from containers being refurbished and that employees sometimes burned material they had removed in the brazier.

The HSE also found the company had not properly assessed the risks involved in using and storing paint thinners, failed to ensure it had full knowledge of all the chemicals on site and how they were being used and failed to assess the risks involved.

CLB Refrigeration Ltd of Parkside, Woodside, Grays, Essex, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and was fined a total of £22,500 and ordered to pay £9,243 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Monica Babb said: “CLB Refrigeration Ltd should have been aware of what dangerous substances their workers were using, and how. A proper risk assessment was key to making sure that suitable, effective control measures were in place and the brazier was removed from site.”

Risk assessments are crucial to identifying and controlling potential workplace hazards and protecting the health and safety of employees, visitors and members of the public and are an essential part of the steps employers need to take to meet their health and safety obligations.

For more information on how Palmers can assist you with health and safety issues, or if you are facing prosecution, please contact our health and safety specialists Lara Murray and Jeremy Sirrell.