£20,000 Fines for Dangerous Goods Leak

Two companies have been issued £20,000 fines by the UK’s Medway Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to offences relating to a dangerous goods leakage incident.

Whitman Laboratories Ltd and Allport Cargo Services Ltd were ordered to pay £20,000 fines after pleading guilty to offences under the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009.

The offences related to a 2014 incident involving the leakage of corrosive potassium hydroxide. Some 170 plastic jerrycans of the Class 8 substance were improperly packaged and secured for transport between Whitman Laboratories, in Hampshire, and their intended destination in Belgium.

The lorry driver, an employee of Allport Cargo Services, noticed the consignment leaking during a stop at a motorway service station in Kent. An Allport Cargo Services transport supervisor directed the driver to return to a company depot located some 12 miles away. Emergency services were finally alerted when the truck reached the depot and the extent of the leakage was realised.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Andrew Lake noted the seriousness of the incident. “Potassium hydroxide can cause severe damage to eyes and skin and is classified as dangerous for transport. The responsibilities under the regulations are clear. It was only by chance that no-one was seriously injured in this incident.”