The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a Tyneside company, after an uncontrolled fire on its premises was declared a major emergency by local police.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and Cleveland Fire Brigade found that the firm Vertellus had failed to adequately maintain its equipment – and had failed to ensure the equipment was suitable to control temperature or prevent ignition to an uncontrolled release.
HSE said that no one was injured as a result of the fire, but police declared a major emergency and the road was closed for several hours.
Vertellus Specialties UK Limited of St Anns Wharf, Newcastle upon Tyne, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999.
The company was fined £135,000 and ordered to pay costs of £37,632.72.
After sentencing, HSE inspector Stephen Britton said:
ckily, no one was injured as a result of this uncontrolled fire. uty holders – particularly those who could be subject to a major incident – need to carry out robust planning to prevent and control major accidents.
“All engineering disciplines should be used – using outside assistance if needed. Here, there was a failure to recognise how a leak could develop into a larger problem.”
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