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Whisky fire results in fine

Scotch whisky manufacturer The Edrington Group Limited has been fined £40,000 after a fire broke out in a warehouse. Thousands of litres of the highly flammable spirit went up in flames following an accident involving a pumping hose and the ceiling lights.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the central aisle lights in the warehouse should not have been used in a flammable atmosphere and that the filling equipment was not suitable for use to transfer a hazardous substance like alcohol at pressure. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Commenting, HSE Inspector David Stephen said “Had the company taken the simple steps of checking the light fittings were suitable for use in a flammable atmosphere and that the equipment used to transfer the alcohol was fit for purpose this incident could have been prevented.

All businesses should ensure that they follow a systematic method of looking at work activities, assessing what could go wrong and deciding what controls need to implemented in order to prevent loss, damage or injury. This set of template risk assessment forms can help.

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