Tata Chemicals fined for health and safety breaches

TATA Chemicals Europe, the Cheshire manufacturer, has been fined more than £100,000 after admitting to safety breaches which endangered workers.

The Northwich-based company, formerly known as Brunner Mond, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after three incidents in 2010.

On one occasion an employee suffered severe burns to a foot which removed a layer of skin and required 18 months of treatment.

Another worker was injured when the metal grating he was walking on gave way five floors up, and employees were also put at risk when high levels of carbon monoxide were released.

Tata Chemicals was prosecuted at Chester Crown by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into the incidents at the Winnington Lane site.

Tata Chemicals Europe, which is part of the India-based Tata group, pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers.

The company also admitted two breaches of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 after it failed to report the two walkway collapses in November 2010 as soon as possible, despite this being a legal requirement.

Tata Chemicals was fined a total of £100,750 for all six offences and ordered to pay £71,082 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gill Chambers said: ““A company the size of Tata Chemicals should never have allowed these incidents to occur, and the lives of its workers were put at risk as a result.

“The general conditions we found at the plant were extremely poor. Some of the gantries were in desperate need of repair after becoming badly corroded and the practical training for staff was also inadequate, meaning they did not take appropriate measures in emergency situations.

“The chemical industry has the potential to be extremely dangerous so it’s vital that firms like Tata Chemicals make health and safety their top priority. Unfortunately, the company fell way below acceptable standards on multiple occasions.”