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Walkers fined after toxic fumes death

Walkers fined after toxic fumes death

Walkers Snack Foods Ltd has been fined £200,000 after a worker inhaled toxic fumes and died.

The Berkshire-based snack food giant and chemical distributor Omnichem Ltd was ordered to pay a combined total of £350,000, after a worker was exposed to green chlorine dioxide fumes on 19 July 2006.

John Marriott, 59, from Scalford, was driving a lorry for Omnichem containing four steel tanks to Walkers' site in Leycroft Road, Beaumont Leys, in Leicester, before the incident happened. Two of the tanks contained Hydrochloric Acid and the others were filled with Sodium Chlorite.

Leicester Crown Court heard that Mr Marriott inadvertently mixed up the hoses while transferring the chemicals from the lorry, which caused them to release the chlorine dioxide fumes.

Mr Marriott and a Walkers' employee were taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary after being exposed to the toxic gas.

While the Walkers' worker gradually recovered from breathing difficulties after a 30-hour hospital stay, Mr Marriott's condition got worse and he died on 17 August 2006.

Walkers, of Arlington Business Park, Theale, Reading, Berkshire, was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £38,971. Omnichem Ltd, from Asfordby Business Park, Melton Mowbray was fined £150,000 and forced to pay £29,229 costs.

Both companies had pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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