December 22, 2017

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Company and director fined for unsafe storage of unauthorised biocidal products

A pest control company and one of its directors have been sentenced for the unsafe storage of unauthorised biocidal products and phostoxin (aluminium phosphide).

Ipswich Crown Court was told how Rodent Service (East Anglia) Limited stored non-approved biocides and pesticides including phostoxin (used for the control of pests and vermin) at its premises at Cooke Road, Lowestoft.

The HSE undertook an investigation following a report provided by Natural England into the alleged secondary poisoning of a tawny owl by a rodenticide (a biocidal compound), and found various biocidal compounds which were not authorised for use improperly stored at the premises. In addition, part used canisters of phostoxin (a compound that reacts with moisture in the atmosphere or the soil to produce phosphine, a poisonous gas, used to control rabbits within their burrows) were found stored inside a filing cabinet within the workplace.

Guilty plea

Rodent Service (East Anglia) Limited of Cooke Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000. The company was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £170.

Donald Eric Martin, Director of Rodent Service (East Anglia) Limited also pleaded guilty to an offence of neglect by virtue of S37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to a six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £115.00.

HSE comment

Speaking after sentencing HSE Principal Inspector Paul Carter commented: “This situation could so easily have been avoided by the company disposing of those biocidal and similar high-risk compounds not authorised for storage and use and ensuring that only sealed containers of phostoxin were kept on site stored safely in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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