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Fine for company after workers flee whisky fire

A major scotch whisky manufacturer has been fined after two workers had to flee a warehouse fire.

Glasgow Sheriff Court was told at an earlier hearing that two workers were filling casks in a warehouse when the incident happened.

After filling four of them, one worker felt the hose he was using relax then heard a whoosh of liquid towards the forklift truck. He turned to see a jet of whisky shooting up towards a ceiling light fitting above the truck. The whisky hit the light fitting and a flame engulfed the cage of the forklift truck.

Both workers ran towards the stairs at the back of the warehouse, activating the fire alarm as they left, prompting the evacuation of the whole site within several minutes.

An investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the central aisle lights in the warehouse should not have been used in a flammable atmosphere and, had they been checked, they would have been identified as an ignition source risk.

HSE's investigation also revealed that the filling equipment was not suitable for use to transfer a hazardous substance like alcohol at pressure.

The company was fined £40,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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