Dangerous Gas Release Results in Fine for Chemical Company
It has been reported in recent news that the chemical company, Solvay Solutions UK Limited, has been ordered to pay a fine after an accidental dangerous gas release affected the surrounding atmosphere.
After an investigation it was concluded that the gas escaped when its container failed. The gas was a mixture of phosphorous and phosphine which ignites to produce phosphorous pentoxide upon contact with air. This then reacted with moisture to create a phosphoric acid mist which was found to have drifted into residential areas.
The extent of the gas leakage meant that police and they Highways Agency closed of a number of nearby roads, including sections of the M5, and over 4000 people were asked not to go outside for up to 3 hours.
The company was fined £333,000 and ordered to pay £110,000 in costs after a guilty plea.
It was noted that the case “should serve as a warning to other companies dealing with harmful substances” and that “they need to get their processes absolutely right in order to ensure the safety of the public”.
Further details of the story can be found on the HSE website.
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