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Firms Urged By Lawyer To Take Care With Chemicals

Walkers Case Demonstrates Dangers


The case of a 59-year-old lorry driver who died after inhaling toxic gas demonstrates the need for firms to have proper standards in place in relation to chemical handling, according to a leading workplace injury lawyer.

Walkers Snack Foods and chemical distribution body Omnichem have been fined a total of £350,000 over the incident in 2006, which occurred when John Marriott was transferring sodium chlorite and hydrochloric acid from a lorry at Walkers’ Leycroft Road site in Leicester.

Mr Marriott mixed up the hoses when doing so, which created fumes of chlorine dioxide. He soon began to be affected by the toxic gas and eventually died from the effects around a month later.

The Health and Safety Executive has said that the incident could have been avoided if risk assessments and other procedures had been in place.

David Urpeth, workplace injury and illness lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: "The fact that the problems could have been prevented makes this incident even more tragic.

“I welcome the fine imposed following this tragic work accident. The handling of dangerous chemicals is often a difficult and complicated area, which is why it is one that needs to be fully assessed by organisations.

“Workers deserve the right to be able to go home unharmed at the end of the day and the right standards and procedures are vital steps towards ensuring it happens.”