Home » News

Syngenta fined £200,000 for chemical release

Agrochemicals multinational Syngenta has been fined £200,000 after a toxic herbicide stored under pressure was released at its plant in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Pressurised paraquat dichloride solution was released at Syngenta's plant in Huddersfield

Between 3.5 and 3.8 tonnes of paraquat dichloride solution leaked when a maintenance technician accidentally opened a valve on an ISO tank pressure vessel. The chemical, marketed by Syngenta under the name Gramoxone Max, is an irritant to the eyes and respiratory system.

Syngenta pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court on 16 March to breaching Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulation 1999, which requires operators to prevent major accidents, and Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, under which work equipment must be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. The company was fined £200,000 plus £13,041 in costs. 

After the hearing Health and Safety Executive inspector Angus Robbins said: “This incident could have been prevented if Syngenta had properly assessed the real risk of the valve being opened while the tank was under pressure.”


Keeley Downey was the former assistant editor of IOSH Magazine. Previously she was editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

Type : 
Topic :  
Sector : 

Add new comment