Court for Essex firm involved in fire

An Essex firm has been fined for neglecting chemical safety after a fire involving a brazier and a drum of thinners led to safety breaches being uncovered at its Rainham site.

CLB Refridgeration Ltd, which cleans and refurbishes industrial-size refridgeration containers, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Southwark Crown Court after its investigation.

The court heard (17 Feb) that a 25-litre drum of paint thinners was involved in an incident in October 2012 where a fireball erupted in a brazier at the company’s site in Ferry Lane.

HSE told the court that CLB Refrigeration Ltd failed in its duties to assess and control the use of paint thinners – the company was not aware how workers were using the dangerous substance and were also unaware that a brazier was being used to burn rubbish.

The investigation identified that thinners was being used to clean marks off the containers that were being refurbished and that when the skips were full the employees would sometimes burn material they had removed from the refrigeration containers in the brazier.

HSE found that the company had not properly assessed the risks involved in using and storing paint thinners, and had fallen far below the standard of controlling the risks. CLB Refrigeration failed to ensure it had full knowledge of all the chemicals on site, how they were being used and failed to undertake an assessment of the risks involved.

CLB Refrigeration Ltd of Parkside, Woodside, Grays, Essex, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and was fined a total of £22,500 and ordered to pay £9243 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Monica Babb said:

“CLB Refrigeration Ltd should have been aware of what dangerous substances their workers were using, and how. A proper risk assessment was key to making sure that suitable, effective control measures were in place and the brazier was removed from site.”