This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Tata Chemicals fined more than £100,000 after multiple incidents

15 April 2013

Tata Chemicals Europe Ltd has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into a number of incidents at its Northwich site in the UK, all of which occurred during 2010.

Tata Chemicals Europe Ltd has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into a number of incidents at its Northwich site in the UK, all of which occurred during 2010.

One employee at Tata Chemicals plant in Northwich suffered severe burns to his right foot which removed a layer of skin and required 18 months of treatment.

Another worker was injured when the metal grating he was walking on gave way five floors up, and employees were also put at risk when high levels of carbon monoxide were released into the former Brunner Mond plant.

Chester Crown Court was told that the first incident happened on 29 January 2010 when a worker was trying to reach a pump to restart it when his right foot went through a missing part of the grating.

He was exposed to a toxic liquid at a temperature of approximately 95 degrees Celsius when his foot entered the sump below, which is used to collect overflowing chemicals.

The second incident occurred six months later, on 25 July 2010, when a dangerous gas was released, resulting in high levels of carbon monoxide being present in the area of the plant where employees were working.

An investigation into the incident found employees had not been given sufficient practical training for the work activity that caused the gas leak, and the emergency procedures at the plant were inadequate.

The final incident took place on 21 November 2010 when part of the gantry a worker was walking along gave way as the metal grating under his feet had become badly corroded. He escaped with minor injuries after landing on a scaffolding board on the walkway below.

When a HSE inspector visited the factory, she discovered the company had failed to report another part of the grating on the same walkway collapsing two days before the incident on 21 November.

Tata Chemicals Europe Ltd, which is part of the global Tata group, pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers.

The company also admitted two breaches of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 after it failed to report the two walkway collapses in November 2010 as soon as possible, despite this being a legal requirement.

Tata Chemicals was fined a total of £100,750 for all six offences and ordered to pay £71,082 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Gill Chambers said:

"A company the size of Tata Chemicals should never have allowed these incidents to occur, and the lives of its workers were put at risk as a result.

"The general conditions we found at the plant were extremely poor. Some of the gantries were in desperate need of repair after becoming badly corroded and the practical training for staff was also inadequate, meaning they did not take appropriate measures in emergency situations.

"The chemical industry has the potential to be extremely dangerous so it’s vital that firms like Tata Chemicals make health and safety their top priority. Unfortunately, the company fell way below acceptable standards on multiple occasions."


Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page

CSA Sira Test