Toxic gas and hand slice land flavourings firm with fines

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food flavouring firm Frutarom has been fined for safety failings
Food flavouring firm Frutarom has been fined for safety failings
Global food flavourings manufacturer Frutarom has been ordered to pay more than £160,000 for two separate health and safety failings at its factory in Hartlepool.

Colchester Magistrates Court heard how the company was prosecuted following two separate Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigations into incidents its premises.

In October 2016, a worker was emptying a part-finished product from a drum into two smaller containers when the toxic gas hydrogen sulphide was released from the liquid being decanted.

The HSE’s investigation into the incident found that while Frutarom included danger warnings about the gas on work instructions, it did not instruct workers to carry out industry standard practices to remove the gas safely.

HSE inspector Julian Nettleton said it was fortunate that no one was harmed following the release of the gas.

‘Knew about the hazards’

“Frutarom knew about the hazards of handling this chemical but had not sufficiently considered the specific risks from the task which workers were routinely carrying out,”​ added Nettleton.

Meanwhile, in June 2017, an agency worker lost four of his fingers when his hand came into contact with mixing blades inside machinery.

The subsequent HSE investigation found that the company failed to prevent access into the discharge chute of the machine after not identifying this as a risk.

The company was not aware of the significance of a grille cover on the discharge chute which, had it been fixed to the machine or interlocked, would have prevented the incident from occurring.

‘Would have been prevented’

Commenting on the incident, HSE inspector Edward Crick said: “The injuries sustained by the employee after the incident in July 2017 would have been prevented had a suitable and sufficient risk assessment been undertaken.

“Sadly, the company missed probably the most significant hazard associated with the use of the machine and therefore failed to take any appropriate action to eliminate the risk.”

Relating to the incident in October 2016, Frutarom (UK) Ltd of Riverside Avenue West, Lawford, Manningtree, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,603.90.

Relating to the incident in July 2017, the company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,992.51.

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