Deeside Metal Company Ltd and Jeyes UK Ltd were prosecuted after a worker suffered 90% burns and subsequently died when aerosol canisters he was crushing caught fi re. The manager of Deeside Metal Company, Mr Robert Roberts, was individually prosecuted.

 Deeside Metal Company had received the canisters from Jeyes UK, a manufacturer of household and cleaning products. Jeyes UK had failed to clearly label and segregate them from less hazardous waste. As a result, employees handling the canisters had assumed that they were empty when they in fact contained extremely fl ammable substances. A worker, Mark Wright, had been instructed by Mr Roberts to crush the canisters in a metal baler. When the baler was activated, a canister caught fi re and engulfed Mr Wright in fl ames.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard that neither company had carried out suitable risk assessments before allowing workers to handle potentially hazardous materials such as aerosols and that both had failed to train or monitor staff engaged in their disposal.

Deeside Metal Company pleaded guilty to charges under section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which places an obligation on employers to carry out risk assessments. The company was fi ned £100,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs. Its manager, Mr Roberts, was charged under Section 7 of the 1974 Act and fi ned £10,000.

Jeyes UK was fi ned £330,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a charge under Section 3(1) of the 1974 Act.

HSE stated that this case must “serve as a warning to other companies handling potentially dangerous material about the consequences of not having safe working practices in place.” It also highlights that the prosecuting authorities will not stop at prosecuting companies, where individuals are partly to blame for failures leading to an incident.