Processing Magazine

Companies Fined for Chlorine Dioxide Death

September 28, 2010
Crisp-maker Walkers and chemical distributor Omnichem have been fined a total of £350,000, after a worker was killed by a cloud of toxic gas, reports BBC News. Driver John Marriott, from Leicestershire, died from chlorine dioxide poisoning while transferring chemicals from his lorry. He inadvertently mixed up the hoses on steel tanks while delivering to a Beaumont Leys site in July 2006. Both companies admitted two charges under the Health & Safety at Work Act. After realizing his mistake, Marriott started to hose the area down but it was too late and he died in hospital a month later. The HSE said both chemicals were used in Walkers'' starch reclamation unit to turn waste starch into food-grade material used to make snack foods. At Leicester Crown Court, Walkers admitted breaching two sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £38,971. Omnichem admitted the same breaches and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £29,229 in costs. In a statement, Walkers said it had been "saddened and shocked" by Marriott''s death. It said: "Walkers Snack Foods Limited is committed to ensuring the health and safety for all our employees, customers and visitors, and prompt remedial steps were taken immediately after this incident to ensure this does not happen on one of our sites ever again."