Pharmaceutical firms fined £120,000
Posted: 14th December 2013
Posted in: Workplace Injuries
Two pharmaceutical companies have been fined £120,000 after harmful chemicals leaked causing many staff to fall seriously ill. Archimica Chemicals and Euticals, both of which have recently gone bust, both admitted to health and safety breaches following the incident. Archimica Chemicals admitted to six charges, while Euticals admitted to two.
One of the former factory workers, Nigel Verdon, said that his “life had been turned upside down” after he was left with brain damage following one of the leaks. The father of two from Cheshire, had been exposed to methyl iodide, a chemical most commonly used in pesticides. As a result of Mr Verdon’s exposure to the harmful substance, he now suffers with limited mobility and speech.
Suffered a seizure
The incident happened only six weeks after Mr Verdon began working at the factory. Despite having been provided with an air-fed respiratory mask and protective boots, he was given no overalls. When the chemical came into contact with his skin, he suffered a seizure and was treated for blood clots at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Euticals was closed down in November last year after safety inspectors found large quantities of a highly explosive chemical at the factory. Following the gas leak that caused the injuries to Mr Verdon, and many others, it cost the council £100,000 to clean the site. Archimica was fined £80,000 and agent company Euticals was fined £40,000.
Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Mark Burton, said that the multiple failings were “extremely serious and could have had even more devastating consequences”.
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