A brewery company has been fined £3 million after an ammonia gas leak at one of its breweries caused a fatality and seriously injured another contractor.
In 2016, A principal contractor had appointed numerous contractors to assist with the removal of a compressor from a refrigeration system at the brewery. It was found that the brewery company had failed to use controlled safety measures to prevent exposure to ammonia before work started. This led to a deadly amount of ammonia being released. It was several days before the leak was contained and the ammonia levels returned to a safe amount.
As a result of this, 20 people needed hospital checks with one contractor falling seriously ill and one fatally affected.
The brewery company pleaded guilty to charges under Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety of Work etc. Act 1974, and regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety of Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £3 million with costs of £90,000.
The HSE made it clear that both the brewery company and the principal contractor had a duty to work together to ensure the project was managed correctly and safely throughout.