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Ammonia accident leads to fine

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AUSTRALIA: A leading cold storage and distribution company has been fined $45,000 (€29,300) with $2,900 (€1,900) costs after a contract worker received serious ammonia gas burns.

Rand Transport (1986) Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in Perth Magistrates Court to failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace where contractors were not exposed to hazards.

In December 2014, during the construction of a dividing wall within a large cold storage room, Luke Passmore – a contractor for Australian insulation panel company Bondor, was sprayed in the face with ammonia liquid and gas as it was released from a purge valve. As a result he suffered serious chemical burns to his eyes, face and severe internal respiratory damage.

Mr Passmore was operating a scissor lift at height, within a small restricted space. As he manoeuvred the lift, it struck a surge valve on a forced-air cooler, releasing the ammonia refrigerant.

Rand was said to have known that the chemical was in the vicinity of the works and had not advised Bondor or their workers about the hazards or the risks.

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