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Pharmaceutical company fined over Irish plant explosion

11 May 2012

Corden Pharma Ltd has been fined €300,000 following a chemical explosion at its County Cork plant that killed one of its employees and seriously injured another, according to the Irish Times.
The chemical explosion took place in a process reactor at the company’s 20-acre Little Island plant on April 28th, 2008.

The company’s 20-acre Little Island site near Cork has now been closed
The company’s 20-acre Little Island site near Cork has now been closed

The company, trading as Corden Pharmachem Ltd, had been initially been charged with 16 breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, and pleaded guilty to four separate charges on May 1.

In addition to handing down the fine, Judge Patrick Moran at Cork Circuit Criminal Court also awarded costs of €27,000 to the Health and Safety Authority and €45,000 to the DPP.

The court heard that Corden Pharma received €15 million in compensation following the explosion. It had used €7.5 million to pay redundancies to 92 staff and €4 million to decommission the plant, while it had invested €3.5 million in research.

The company had previously been fined €2,000 for a breach of health and safety rules on March 2nd, 2008, over its storage of waste materials and €5,000 for another breach on March 7th, 2008, relating to a similar process to that which led to the fatal explosion, he said.

"This was a very serious incident leading to the tragic death of one worker and serious injury to another," said Sharon McGuinness, assistant chief executive of the Health and Safety Authority.

"Whether manufacturing chemicals or using chemicals in the production of other products, it is critical that a comprehensive risk assessment is undertaken and appropriate safety precautions put in place,” she added.

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