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£250,000 fine for food waste recycling business

20 June 2016

A prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has seen a Stoke-on-Trent company fined £250,000 after three employees were overcome by toxic gases.

Stafford Crown Court heard that the incident occurred on 23 April 2014 at the premises of John Pointon and Sons, with employees affected by gases including hydrogen sulphide and reduced oxygen in the company's animal waste facility.

A member of staff had entered a compartment inside an animal waste trailer to remove a blockage and was the first to be overcome by the gases.

Two additional members of staff then entered the waste compartment and were also overcome, the court heard.

It was informed that the incident was preventable, but could have also resulted in fatalities.

In fact, the company had been prosecuted on two previous occasions for two fatal incidents, which also involved entry into a confined space within a processing plant.]

The court fined John Pointon and Sons of Cheddleton, Stoke-on-Trent £250,000 with costs of £37,362 after the company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation (1) of the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997.

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