1st February 2017

Mushroom firm fined £50,000

An Evesham mushroom packaging and distribution company has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,888 for polluting a nearby brook with an effluent from rotting mushrooms. Some frogs and a significant number of invertebrates downstream of the site were killed as a result of the pollution incident.

On investigation, the source of the pollution was found to a skip full of decomposing mushrooms which was leaking into a surface water drain. This, it appeared, had been ongoing for a number of days. The operator was advised to remove the skip, undertake a cleaning operation and conduct a full inspection of the site drainage system.

In effect company failed to carry out the site drainage survey within a reasonable time so Environment Agency staff attended the premises again, to examine the site drainage system, and discovered that similar effluent was continuing to flow into it.

4th January 2017

Engineering company fined £150,000

A North-East engineering company was fined £150,000 for safety breaches after two of its workers were burned when they were sprayed with chemicals during chemical cleaning of a pipework system.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that the task was not adequately risk assessed, the equipment provided to do the job, in particular the hosing, was not suitable for the solution, and the company failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to its employees.

23rd December 2016

Solvent recycler fined £27,000

A Sunderland solvent recycling company has been fined £27,000 following a leak of about 4,000 litres of solvent during processing. The subsequent investigation by the Environment Agency found management systems and operating procedures were deficient, including no formal inspections for pipes and sumps, and an inadequate operating procedure for the transfer of liquid chemicals.

The District Judge, said during sentencing, that the incident occurred due to an unfortunate combination of circumstances. He added there was significant mitigation and he was impressed by the efforts of the company to make changes, and the acceptance that further work is needed.