Driver who left chemical spill unattended banned from HGV driving

Ashleigh Wight
June 20, 2017


A “reckless” truck driver who left a hazardous chemical spill from his vehicle unattended has been banned from driving for an indefinite period.

Simon Carrington, driver for Barrow-on-Humber-based S J Barrick, fled the scene after spilling at least 200-litres of acetic anhydride on an access road in Barry, South Wales in April 2016.

The chemical can cause health issues if ingested, inhaled or if it comes into contact with the skin.

The ADR-certified driver had just completed a delivery of the hazardous substance at the Dow Corning site in Barry, South Wales, when he opened the side discharge valve and the tanker’s top lid in preparation for it to be cleaned at a nearby tank wash.

He claimed he was not aware that some 260kg of the liquid was left in the tank. He had been given a weighbridge docket, which confirmed how much liquid was left after the Dow Corning staff had unloaded the tanker, but he had not read it.

He told a driver conduct hearing he had noticed some discharge from the side valve when he climbed up the ladder to open the lid, but assumed it would stop when he climbed back down.

He called his employer to inform it of the spill, but the company was led to believe it was a small spill only. He then drove away from the site with liquid still spilling from the tanker onto the road.

Deputy traffic commissioner Fiona Harrington said his evidence was inconsistent with the CCTV footage of the incident. She described the discharge as a “rapidly growing pool of liquid spilling onto the ground” and said the footage showed him taking no apparent interest or preventative action to limit the spill.

She said it was possible that other vehicles would have driven over the liquid, which was only contained when another driver mentioned the smell and breathing difficulties to the Dow Corning emergency response team.

Carrington was fined £1,840 with £956 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge at Cardiff Magistrates Court in January.

Harrington said he had demonstrated a wilful blindness to the risk of offending by acting as he did.

“The acts and omissions of this licence holder were ones which a person exercising reasonable care would not commit, particularly taking into account his training as an ADR-certified driver and the trust placed in him in issuing such certification,” she added.

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