Chemical Firm Fined Over Hazardous Waste Spill

Expert Calls For Lessons To Be Learnt From Incident


A work accident expert at Irwin Mitchell has called for lessons to be learnt after a firm was fined in relation to a chemical spill at an East Sussex plant.

Solvent Resource Management of Maidenhead, Berkshire, has been fined £150,000 over the incident in March 2009, when a steel tank damaged by internal corrosion collapsed and led to around 340 tonnes of contaminated waste water being released.

In addition, up to 90 tonnes of hazardous waste was also released when a valve was knocked off an adjoining tank.

An investigation revealed failings in relation to the maintenance and inspection of tanks, while an inspector prevented the use of other tanks until they had been properly assessed by authorities.

David Urpeth, a workplace injury and illness expert at Irwin Mitchell who represents a number of clients who have suffered after coming into contact with hazardous materials, said the incident cannot be repeated.

He outlined: “It is very fortunate that no one was hurt in this incident, but that does not excuse the fact that safety failings led to a serious incident which could and should have been avoided.

“All companies have a responsibility to ensure that their equipment is properly maintained and suitable for use at all times, but sadly this shows the consequences of when firms fail to adhere to this duty.

“Industrial companies and those which specialise in handling chemicals need to acknowledge this issue and ensure all of the measures they have in place are suitable.”