A company that manufactures soft drinks from its base in Kegworth has been hit with a financial penalty after an incident in which a contractor working on its behalf was exposed to dangerous ozone gases.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed Colt Beverages was prosecuted following an investigation into the case of Richard Sharp. Mr Sharp, 49, had been tasked with servicing a UV light system in a plant room at the organisation's premises.
However, he was not informed that ozone was present in the room at the time, despite being given a permit to begin work at the business.
In July 2010, Mr Sharp was exposed to the dangerous gas and he picked up acute irritant asthma as a result. He has been unable to work ever since and even some basic activities are a struggle on a daily basis due to his high sensitivity to chemicals.
The HSE noted that anything from perfume to exhaust fumes can prove to be a huge problem for him and triggers an asthma attack.
"My life is now very restricted. I can no longer carry out normal activities like taking the dog for a walk or wandering to the pub without worrying about what is round the corner," explained Mr Sharp.
HSE inspector Richenda Dixon added: "As a result of the company's failings, Richard's quality of life has been severely affected and it is unlikely he will be able to return to his normal job."
Such a case may serve as a useful reminder to other companies to instigate effective safety measures and invest in equipment that can help staff ensure they do not become a victim of a similar incident.
Cott Beverages pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 during its appearance at Loughborough Magistrates' Court and was fined £20,000, while it was also told it must cover costs of more than £11,500.