11 employees at a Lincolnshire food factory have been injured and sent to hospital after a chemical incident.
Now, bosses at Axgro Foods are eager to reassure that they are treating health and safety as their “number one priority” in the aftermath of the accident.
Chemical spill incident
The incident was said to be caused by a mixture of chemicals which were introduced to one another by accident. It is believed that cleaning fluids were behind the accident.
11 members of staff were hospitalised and have since been discharged. It is thought that they were taken for precautionary checks only, and did not require any serious treatment.
The value-added vegetable processing plant in Scunthorpe is now open again after it was deemed safe for employees to return to work the next day. Company executives were also trying to ensure that everyone who was affected by the incident was receiving the best possible care and support.
“Due to an accidental mix of chemicals at our Scunthorpe factory, 11 members of staff were taken to hospital for precautionary checks and we are pleased to report that all have now been discharged,” said a spokesman for the Axgro brand. “As a significant local employer, the health and safety of our staff is our number one priority and we have taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that our staff are receiving the best possible care and support, and that our factory is safe. The Health and Safety Executive has visited the site and we continue to work with them to investigate the incident and ensure all measures are taken to avoid a reoccurrence. The factory is now back open and work has recommenced.”
East Midlands Ambulance response
“We sent two paramedics on cars, two ambulances and our Hazardous Area Response Team – 11 patients were taken to Scunthorpe General Hospital,” said a spokeswoman for East Midlands Ambulance Service. She also confirmed that a call was received at 7.38am from the company.
It seems that there was a satisfactory response to the incident all round, and no lasting harm has been done. This kind of situation only highlights the importance of health and safety in food recruitment processes, from the onboarding packs or training given right through to daily reminders and visual aids.
Axgro Foods is the trading name behind the Lincolnshire Beetroot Company, which supplies all kinds of beetroot. Whether cooked, pickled, or flavoured, the factory claims to be the UK’s leading suppliers. They add value to other locally-grown vegetable produce as well.
Similar recent incidents
This is not the first nor the last chemical incident in a food factory in the UK. In fact, another similar report was made in October from a chicken plant in Derbyshire. The Moy Park, Ashbourne facility had two staff members hospitalised with minor ailments.
Another 35 workers were treated on site by paramedics, but did not require further treatment at the hospital. The two hospitalised patients went by non-emergency ambulance and all are now reported to be well.
Chemicals can easily mix together when not used following the correct protocol. Those who are unfamiliar with the science behind the cleaning products may be surprised to discover the harmful effects that they can have when used incorrectly. This is one big reason why training must emphasise the potential consequences of sloppy work.
While the hope is always to reduce the amount of incidents that take place, there is no accounting for sheer accidents which cannot be prevented or foreseen. In these cases, it’s very important that the emergency response is fast and effective.