Heineken UK appears in court following worker death

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Carbon dioxide Brewing Occupational safety and health Uk

Heineken UK has been accused of breaking health and safety regulations after a worker died from carbon dioxide poisoning at one of its breweries.

At Reading Crown Court in the UK, the company pleaded not guilty to two counts under health and safety laws, according to BBC News.

The UK arm of the Dutch brewer denied employer breach of general duty to employee and contravention of health and safety regulations.

The case, which has been adjourned until 20 October for a pre-trial review, relates to the death of a worker who was overcome by carbon dioxide fumes at a Scottish Courage brewery in Reading in 2006.

Brewing hazards

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there has been an average of one fatality each year over the last decade in the UK brewing industry. Potential hazards include carbon dioxide and nitrogen poisoning in confined spaces, as well as falls into vessels and accidents involving vehicles or the handling of kegs and casks.

The fatal injury rate is lower than in other parts of the drinks industry. However, brewing does have a high injury incidence rate compared to the rest of the industry, because of the high level of manual handling. Last year, HSE said there were 28 non-fatal major injuries and 129 injuries causing absences of over three days.

It has identified the following areas as the key priorities for brewers as they account for 80 per cent of all injuries or have the potential for serious accidents. They are listed in order of importance.

  • manual handling - especially of casks, kegs, crates and heavy plant
  • slips and trips - 90% of slips are on wet surfaces
  • people being struck by moving objects, including falls of articles - sometimes from vehicles
  • falls - especially from vehicles, stairs, ladders and work platforms
  • vehicles - especially fork-lift trucks

Related topics Regulation & Safety Heineken

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