Carlsberg has been fined £3 million after a refrigeration contractor died following an ammonia gas leak at its Northampton brewery.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Carlsberg had failed to put adequate controls in place to prevent exposure to ammonia before work started to remove a compressor from a refrigeration system in November 2016.
David Chandler died after inhaling ammonia. He was married with two daughters aged one and five. David Beak, a colleague of Mr Chandler, was seriously injured and 20 other people, including emergency service staff, needed medical attention.
Carlsberg Supply Company UK Ltd, now called CMBC Supply Ltd, pleaded guilty to charges under Section 2(1) and Section 3(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. The company was fined £3 million at Birmingham Crown Court with costs of £90,000.
In a statement, Mr Chandler’s family said they would “never fully accept the death of David in such tragic but preventable circumstances.”
They added the legal process had been “emotionally exhausting” and “frustrating” given the length of time that has lapsed since the accident.
“We welcome the conclusion of the prosecution case against Carlsberg UK Supply Company Ltd following the death of David five and half years ago.
“We are pleased that improvements have been made at Carlsberg’s site in Northampton which will hopefully ensure no other families suffer the anguish we have endured.”
The statement continued: “We are devastated that his young family will not be able to share their lives with him as they grow. He was a larger-than-life character whose loss has left a massive void nothing can replace.”
Paul Davies, CEO of CMBC Supply Ltd, said: “We strive to attain and maintain the highest standards of health and safety management for our employees.
“Through our guilty plea to the charges and much earlier acceptance of responsibility, we recognise that on this occasion we did not meet these high standards.
“All remedial measures have since been taken and lessons learnt. As a company we will continue to put health and safety at the forefront of how we operate.”