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Toxic cloud exposes Tata Steel to £1m penalty

The former owners of Scunthorpe Steel Works have been fined £930,000 after workers at the site were exposed to an uncontrolled release of toxic and flammable substances.

Toxic cloud exposes Tata Steel to £1m penalty

A large quantity of benzole was released at an open site glass in the steel works on 17 June 2011. A flammable cloud developed and, had it ignited, the release could have led to serious injury or the death of the five workers. Two of the exposed workers experienced breathing difficulties. Both were sent to hospital but were discharged the next day. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Tata Steel had ignored the risks of uncontrolled releases even though they had been identified previously. 

The Scunthorpe Steel Works is classified as a top tier Control of Major Accidents Hazards site due to the large volume of highly flammable and toxic chemicals stored at the location.

Tata Steel UK of Millbank, London pleaded guilty to breaching s 2 (1) and s 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was handed a £930,000 fine. It was also ordered to pay costs of £70,000.


Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton was previously acting editor of IOSH Magazine. Before that he was editor of SHP and he has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner

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