Leicester company fined for huge fire risk

A Leicester haulage company has been prosecuted for creating a massive fire risk by illegally storing huge quantities of highly flammable aerosols.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the firm had not properly managed the risks associated with storing large amounts of aerosol products at their Hilltop Industrial Estate site in Leicestershire.

A.M Widdowson & Son Ltd of Mill Lane Industrial Estate pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(2) of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 (COMAH) and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Coalville Magistrates Court.

The company were fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,900.

The court heard that the company stored large amounts of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) for around seven months. It failed to notify the authorities of its operations on site, did not complete a risk assessment and then failed to implement many good practices recognised by industry.

HSE Inspector, James Wright, said:

“The arrangements this company had in place for the storage of aerosol products fell well below what HSE would expect to find.

“On this occasion, with the amount of LPG being stored on site, there was a real risk of a major fire, which would have posed a threat to employees on site and those in the surrounding area.

“The company also failed to notify the HSE that they were operating a site which came under the COMAH Regulations.

“This case should serve as a reminder to all operators of sites warehousing aerosol products – where there are serious failures to implement suitable arrangements for managing the risks from LPG, HSE will not hesitate to prosecute.”