Carlsberg Brewery Northampton

Inquest rules ammonia accident preventable

An inquest was held into how a man died during an ammonia explosion at the Carlsberg Brewery in Northampton, England.

The coroner believed that David Chandler, 45, died almost instantly when an ammonia leak caused a dormant compressor to explode in his face. The unit had previously been disconnected, but during an attempt to move it there was a release of ammonia gas.

The inquest heard that some of the firms who work at the brewery were issued with deficient work permits. There was allegedly no risk assessment done on the compressor Chandler was working on. The inquest ruled on July 2 that the death was an accident but found it was preventable.

As a natural refrigerant, ammonia has many advantages. However, this incident highlights the need for more training to be made available. High levels of ammonia exposure causes severe burns, and it can be a dangerous substance to work with.

The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) is one of the only organisations in Australia that offers comprehensive ammonia courses.

Training Coordinator at AIRAH, Honeylet Knoll, believes the training has helped numerous companies.

“In this very critical work, health and safety environment, I believe it is vital to know how to address any potential hazards when operating in an ammonia plant,” she said.

You can read more about the inquest here, or find out more about the ammonia training courses here.

Photo courtesy of Caddick Construction.

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