Brewer to improve ‘rigorous procedures’ after death

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Carlsberg says it is co-operating with the HSE to establish the cause of the leak
Carlsberg says it is co-operating with the HSE to establish the cause of the leak

Related tags Occupational safety and health Natural gas Health and safety executive

Carlsberg UK has claimed the safety of its employees is of the “utmost importance” after being served an improvement notice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following a gas leak that led to the death of one of its workers.

The brewer said it was “constantly looking” ​at ways to enhance the “rigorous procedures”​ it had in place to protect its employees after last November’s incident at its Northampton brewery, which claimed the life of 45-year-old David Chandler.

Eleven workers, nine firefighters and two policemen were taken to hospital as a result of the ammonia leak at Carlsberg’s brewery on Bridge Street. Remaining staff from the factory were evacuated.

In its improvement notice, the HSE said the company had “not made a suitable and sufficient assessment” ​of the risks of dangerous refrigerant gases.

The notice relates to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Deadline for resolution not met

The notice was issued in March, but the May 31 deadline for resolution was not met and it remained unresolved.

In response, Carlsberg claimed it was co-operating fully with the HSE to establish the cause of the ammonia leak.

A spokeswoman for the brewer said: “Everyone at Carlsberg UK was deeply shocked and saddened by the fatal incident at our Northampton brewery last November and our thoughts continue to be with the family and all others affected by the incident.

“Ever since the incident, we have been co-operating fully with the HSE to establish the cause of the accident and we await the result of their investigation.”

The spokesperson added: “The safety of our employees is of the utmost importance to us. As part of our ongoing commitment to health and safety we are constantly looking at ways to enhance the rigorous procedures we have in place to protect all our employees and other visitors to our sites.”

Production halted for two weeks

The ammonia leak led to production at the brewery being halted for two weeks. It was confined to the site, and the emergency services did not believe there was a wider risk to members of public.

At the time, Carlsberg UK chief executive Julian Momen said many people connected to brewer had been “profoundly affected” ​by the incident.

He said: “This has been a very difficult time for everyone concerned, and I speak on behalf of everyone working at Carlsberg UK, when I say that we truly appreciate all of the support we have received from the industry, our customers and the local community.”

In April, a court found prepared foods manufacturer Bakkavor guilty of safety failings after one of its workers died when plastic bales fell on top of him​.

An investigation by the HSE revealed the stacking of plastic bales at the company’s Hitchen Foods site was unsafe.

Meanwhile, in March, a fatal accident in a grain storage facility​ resulted in a £50,000 fine for farming firm Maurice Mason Ltd.

In 2016, more than 20 food and drink firms were fined for health and safety failings. In this gallery​you can see the health and safety failings that lead to four tragic deaths and learn how your business can avoid tragedy.

HSE improvement notice

Description:Have not made a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of health and safety of persons from the use of dangerous refrigerant gases namely anhydrous ammonia

Served against: ​Carlsberg Supply Company UK Ltd

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