After a former employee set fire to BCBs site at Marston Business Park, Tockwith, a joint investigation between the Health and Safety Executive and North Yorkshire Police found the firm had been illegally processing drums of volatile chemicals close to unprotected electrical equipment and forklift trucks.
The arsonist had easy access to the drums, which he ignited to start the blaze. He was later convicted.
HSE inspector Stephen Britton said: As a hazardous waste specialist BCB should have been well aware of the relevant legislation and should never have handled flammable material in this way.
BCB pleaded guilty to breaching two parts of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. However, a further breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 was discovered when HSE inspectors found a drum crushing machine was missing a vital safety guard. BCB also pleaded guilty to this breach.
The removal of a safety guard on the drum crushing machine is unbelievable. The guard is there for one reason and one reason only, to protect workers. The consequences of exposing human limbs to a two tonne hydraulic crusher would be horrific, Britton commented.
Without the safety guard, operators were exposed to dangerous internal mechanics, including a hydraulic ram capable of applying two tonnes of pressure.
BCB was ordered to pay a total of £6,110 in costs for all three breaches.