Company fails to review the management control of risk

Emma Covey

Emma Covey
Senior Consultant, Assurity Consulting
29th June 2017

Serious pollution incidents across all sectors including industry, water, waste and farming as the result of lack of preventative control measures harm people, the environment and carry enormous reputational and financial risk for businesses. Fines issued as the result of serious pollution incidences are of recent taking greater account of the costs of clean-up, enforcement and claims for damages from third parties.

After pleading guilty to a major pollution incident in July 2014, the retail giant has been ordered to pay over £8million in fines and costs (£5million for the health and safety offence and £3million for the environmental offence) and additional costs to the Environment Agency of £35,434.30 & £22,000 to Lancashire County Council. Other third parties included United Utilities, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Police.

The incident is an example of another case of failure to address systematic failures within the management of the fuel stored onsite including, issues with the fuel delivery system, an inadequate alarm system and insufficient emergency procedures, which resulted in the escape of 23,500 litres of petrol within 27-hours from a petrol filling tank.

Mark Easedale of the Environment Agency stated, “The sentencing issued sends out a clear message to anyone whose recklessness causes serious pollution to the environment.”

These incidences are a reminder of the importance of implementing safe systems to:

  • Identify, any failings in the current risk control procedures;
  • Rectify, how such failings can be rectified;
  • Prevent, any spillage incidents occurring;
  • Confirm, that robust controls are in place to quickly deal with any spillages, should they occur, to minimise the negative environmental effects; and
  • Review, the planned maintenance regime to verify that it is suitable and sufficient.

If you need any help in the area of environmental management within your organisation, you can find our services here or call us on tel. 01403 269375.