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Oldbury distillery fined £270,000

A distillery in Oldbury has been fined £270,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,009 after an employee was engulfed in flames in a fire that destroyed the warehouse and its contents.

Ethyl acetate (highly flammable liquid) was being transferred from a bulk storage tank into an intermediate bulk container when the ignition occurred.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the most likely source of ignition was a discharge of static electricity generated by the transfer of the liquid. There was poor maintenance of pipework and associated valves. There was a failure to competently inspect the equipment or monitor the systems of work.