WORKERS suffered life-changing conditions after they were exposed to a poisonous gas at a Deeside chemical factory.
The gas had also escaped into the atmosphere in error, a court was told.
Archimica Chemicals Ltd, of Prince of Wales Avenue, Sandycroft, faced six charges brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Euticals Ltd admitted two charges brought by Natural Resources Wales. The offences were said to have occurred between February, 2012 and November last year.
Liquidator Philip Crofts entered guilty pleas to all charges on behalf of the companies at Flintshire Magistrates Court.
An agency worker, Nigel Verdon, had been in intensive care due to the effects of methyl iodide (MI), had suffered a life-threatening blood clot and had significant difficulties with his speech, memory and mobility.
Employee Lee Jones had been hospitalised with MI poisoning and continued to suffer the effects including speech difficulties.
Terence Lyons, another worker, was said to have been to hospital on three occasions after exposure to the gas and suffered breathing and other difficulties.
Terry Jones had recurrent problems with breathing following a release of methylene chloride and others including agency worker Louis Banlin were also exposed to the gas when they went to his aid.
The case was adjourned for District Judge Andrew Shaw to consider whether the case should be dealt with at the magistrates’ court or whether it should be sent to the crown court.
Earlier, Lisa Roberts, prosecuting, told the Mold court the case should be dealt with at the crown court. She said the company site came under control of major accidents and hazards (COMA) regulations, aimed at preventing major accidents involving dangerous substances.
On November 30, 2011, 500kg of MI had mistakenly been sent to a caustic scrubber which was released into the atmosphere – when none should have been released into the atmosphere at all.
Mr Crofts said he would make submissions why the case should be heard at the magistrates court.
Legal adviser Phillip Robinson said it was a complex case. There was also the issue of the companies being in liquidation which was a complicated sentencing issue.
He suggested that the issue should be fully considered by the resident District Judge for North Wales, Judge Andrew Shaw, and the case was adjourned to Wrexham Magistrates Court on October 9.