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A court has heard how employees at a pharmaceutical company in Wales suffered serious injuries following a gas leak.

Addressing the court about the leak – which left one worker with a pulmonary embolism, while another experienced severe and dangerous hallucinations – Judge Philip Hughes explained:

“These individuals suffered serious, incapacitating life-changing injuries, the scars of which they continue to carry and will carry for the rest of their lives.”

The court heard how worker Lee Jones was hospitalised as a result of methyl iodide (MI) poisoning. No personal protective equipment (PPE) had been provided to Jones, whilst a later mask was not fitted with a specialised MI filter.

Upon admittance to hospital, Jones was found to have an enlarged liver. He also had hallucinations so strong that one bout saw him leap from a window.

Jones also continues to experience speech problems, as well as no longer being able to take part in his hobbies such as cycling, DIY and fishing.

Another employee was left with blistering and breathing difficulties after exposure.

The court also heard how agency worker Nigel Verdon had to be taken to intensive care after suffering a pulmonary embolism as a result of MI poisoning. His injuries left him suffering difficulties with memory, mobility and speech.

Archimica Chemicals was fined £80,000 after pleading guilty to six health and safety breaches. Euticals, Archimica's agent firm – which took over the running of the site at a later date – admitted two other charges and was fined £40,000.

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