A man has been left suffering from asthma after being exposed to ozone gas whilst at work.
Richard Sharp was servicing a UV light system for a soft drinks manufacturer back in July 2010. He had been given a permit to work in the plant room of Cott Beverages Ltd but had not been told that ozone gas was present.
The ozone gas was used as a disinfectant by the company, and had been present in the plant room since generating equipment had been fitted in 2001.
Mr Sharp was exposed to the ozone whilst working and has been left with acute irritant asthma as a result. His occupational asthma is severe enough to have made him unable to return to work since. He is now highly sensitive to chemicals, with many everyday smells such as exhaust fumes or perfume capable of causing him an asthma attack.
The premises of Cott Beverages were subsequently investigated by the Health and Safety Executive. They found that the risks of the ozone generating equipment had not been sufficiently assessed. They also discovered that there was no safe system of work for servicing equipment and staff were not adequately trained to issue work permits safely.
The company was fined £20,000 yesterday for breaking health and safety law.
A HSE inspector stated that the company knew of the ozone leak but did nothing to protect workers from exposure to the gas.