Three Sheffield, Great Britain workers nearly became incapacitated from fumes when a decontamination unit began to fill with deadly carbon monoxide, a court heard recently.
The men were part of a five-strong team working in an asbestos enclosure on a demolition site in Huddersfield in November 2009. After working for 90 minutes, each departed the enclosure to go one at a time through a three-stage decontamination unit (DCU).
Huddersfield Magistrates Court heard the workers would begin at the dirty end of the DCU and disposes of overalls, enter a second stage including showers and washing of their respiratory equipment, prior to reaching the final clean section to finish and change into normal clothes. (WCxKit)
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court the first pair of workers passed through each of the stages successfully but the next three men were nearly overcome by dizziness and nausea. All three were sent to hospital where tests indicated they had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.
The three workers were treated with high-flow oxygen therapy at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and released later the same day.
The court heard the DCU used a gas boiler to provide hot water for the shower. HSE tests on the boiler showed poor maintenance meant it was pumping out high levels of carbon monoxide. Also, a door seal and lock between the boiler compartment and clean sections of the unit were damaged, leading to poisonous gases being drawn into the clean end. (WCxKit)
The contractor and owner of the DCU, Newlincs Services Ltd, of Dudley Street, Grimsby, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined $8200.25 and ordered to pay $5871.2 in costs.
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