One worker almost died from a pulmonary embolism and has been left with permanent impairment to his speech, memory and mobility after being exposed to methyl iodide at the site in Sandycroft, during a spate of safety breaches occurring between November 2011 and November 2012, according to the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Other problems stemming from the now defunct facility included the release of methyl iodine - a highly toxic substance that can affect the central nervous system - into the atmosphere, another worker suffering from iodine poisoning, and the exposure of three more to the hazardous substance dichloromethane (DCM) which all led to hospitalization.
Last week Archimica and its trading partner Euticals Ltd received fines of £80,000 and £20,000 respectively by Mold Crown Court after admitting admitted four breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, with Euticals Ltd receiving a further £20,000 fine for two breaches of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.
According to HSE Officer Mark Burton, the companies’ “lack of competent management, control and understanding of the site’s major hazard and chemical processes could have led to these being fatal investigations.”
He continued: “Euticals Limited and Archimica Chemicals Ltd, were fully aware of the standards required to protect workers and ensure that equipment, systems and processes were fit for purpose, yet there is clear evidence of systematic health and safety failings over a prolonged period despite continue advice and support from the regulator to gain compliance.”
API production was halted at the facility in November 2012 after it was discovered substantial quantities of the potentially explosive product Isosorbide Dinitrate - a by-product of the API ISMN Isosorbide Mononitrate used in angina treatment - was being housed at the facility, during an investigation by the Environment Agency Wales.
Both Archimica and Euticals Limited are in liquidation, and so any collection of fines is a matter for the court, according to an HSE spokespeman.
He also told in-Pharmatechnologist.com: “Following the liquidation of the Euticals pharmaceuticals company in Sandycroft, Flintshire County Council and other agencies are managing the decommissioning of the site and safe clearance and disposal of all residual chemical materials.”
This publication contacted Lodi, Italy-headquartered parent company Euticals by phone and email for further comment, but was unsuccessful.