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Toxic chemical leak at Edinburgh fitness club

Posted in: Industrial Deafness and Disease Workplace Injuries 

Virgin Active have been fined a total of £20,000 after a lethal mix of chemicals was released into the Edinburgh fitness club in 2010. Numerous staff from the fitness club had to be taken to hospital after the chemicals leaked into the pool plant room at the Omni Centre. 

Even though this room was not accessible to the public, four members of staff had to be taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. A chemical called Polyaluminium Chloride was mistakenly mixed with a swimming pool disinfectant, sodium hypochlorite, which then caused a toxic chlorine gas to form. Virgin Active, who manages the fitness centre, has pleaded guilty to not best following safety regulations. Edinburgh City Council has described the occurrence as terrible management of dangerous substances. 

Council don’t think it’s good enough

A Virgin Active spokesman said:

We did not meet the high safety standards that we set ourselves and, whilst this was a one-off incident, we have taken measures to ensure that it never happens again.

Despite their apology and promise to better safety standards, Edinburgh City Council still feel that this fine is not a direct reflection of how severe the occurrence was. The mix of chemicals could have had a devastating outcome; it was only luck that prevented this. 

Lesley Hinds, the council’s environment convener, said that the responsibilities of a leisure company are vital in providing a safe centre for both the public and staff; she continued by stating: “We will not hesitate to act when our investigations show that this is not the case.

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