June 15, 2017

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

In court

Uncontrolled fire brings fines for Teeside company

An uncontrolled fire at a company’s premises involved large quantities of dangerous substances. As a result, Vertellus Specialties UK Limited has been fined for breaching the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999.

Teesside Crown Court heard the large fire occurred at the premises in the early hours of 14 May 2014. The fire involved dangerous substances including Vitride, which led to this fire being declared a major incident. The Vitride was in drums and each one burst open causing a large fireball.

No one was injured as a result of this fire, but police declared a major emergency and the road was closed for several hours.

The HSE’s investigation, together with the Environment Agency (EA) and Cleveland Fire Brigade (CFB), found that Vertellus failed to adequately maintain its equipment; and failed to ensure the equipment was suitable to control temperature or prevent ignition to an uncontrolled release.

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 has been fined £135,000 and ordered to pay costs of £37,632.72.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Stephen Britton said: “Luckily no one was injured as a result of this uncontrolled fire.

“Duty 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.”

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments