Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Essex company fined £64,000 after chemical spill

Industrial Chemicals Limited, (ICL) of  Grays, Essex, was fined £64,230 (inc.costs) after 4 of its chemical storage tanks failed and spilled 150 tonnes of hazardous material.
The circumstances were:
  • ICL failed to manage, inspect and maintain the tanks they had on their site.
  • They were unable to demonstrate that the tanks were being operated within their design lives.
  • On 11 July 2013 a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) tank catastrophically failed, releasing its contents of 66 tonnes of aluminium chloride.
  • This caused chemical spills from a further 3 tanks, releasing a further 32 tonnes of aluminium chloride and 52 tonnes of hydrochloric acid.
  • An industrial estate was evacuated and access roads closed although nobody was harmed.
  • 5 Prohibition Notices were served preventing the use of the remaining GRP tanks on site.
  • Following further inspection on 16 July 2013 by the HSE, 10 more Prohibition Notices were served for the same reasons.

The HSE Inspector said:
“This was a major spill of highly hazardous material that caused the evacuation of an industrial estate and the closure of roads in the surrounding area. Fortunately in this case no employees or members of the public were injured. Industrial Chemical Ltd’s failure to manage, inspect and maintain their GRP tanks contributed to this spillage. The measures needed to prevent this kind of incident are straightforward and guidance is freely available from HSE. There is no excuse for companies storing hazardous materials not to follow this guidance.”

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