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January 3, 2020

2 Min Read
Company Fined for Fire at Chemical Facility

Aerosol and liquid chemicals manufacturer LMA Services Ltd. Was issued a fine of £14,000 (about $18,300) by a British court for its role in a 2016 fire that damaged several buildings and storage areas at the company’s chemical dispensing facility in Pocklington, England, Great Britain’s workplace safety regulator, The Health & Safety Executive (HSE), announced in a recent release. 

The fire broke out as heptane was being decanted from a bulk storage container into 4-liter metal cans. A worker dropped a can as it was being filled. Flames spread and destroyed two warehouses and an external storage area at the site, the agency said. 

HSE investigators determined that the filling process involved a bulk container of heptane that was held about 1.5m high by racking, a table with an electrical weighing scale below the racking, and manual operation of a tap on the bulk container. The process allowed flammable vapor to contact an ignition source, which officials said was most likely the scale. 

The company pleaded guilty to violating Regulation 6(3) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. In addition to the fine, LMA Services was also ordered to pay £2,377 in court costs.

“The risks associated with the decanting operation were not fully understood by the company. There were potential ignition sources present within the area where a flammable vapor was likely to occur,” HSE Inspector David Stewart said in a statement. “This case highlights the importance of assessing risks associated with flammable atmospheres. Employers should ensure adequate measures are taken to reduce the formation of flammable atmospheres so far as is reasonably practicable, and to ensure that only suitable electrical equipment is used in areas where a flammable atmosphere may be present.”

LMA Services is a manufacturer of aerosol and liquid chemical products for automotive, industrial, engineering, paint, janitorial, veterinary, and specialty applications, according to information on the firm’s website. 

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