A HGV driver has been banned from professional driving indefinitely and branded reckless after he left a hazardous waste spill from his vehicle unattended.
Industry regulator Fiona Harrington said Simon Carrington, 52, had demonstrated a “wilful blindness” to the risks and then failed to take reasonable steps to minimise the harm caused by the spill.
The Deputy Traffic Commissioner concluded Carrington had not taken any of the steps that she would reasonably expect of an experienced ADR certified driver faced with any spill of a hazardous substance.
Harrington added that the driver’s misconduct had been so serious that, on balance, despite his otherwise good history as a driver and evidence during a conduct hearing in Leeds, his professional driving licence had to be revoked and a disqualification order made.
In a written decision issued after the hearing, she said: “The acts and omissions of 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 enabling him to undertake the transport of dangerous and hazardous goods and materials.
“He did not check the delivery paperwork given to him by Dow Corning after delivery and he deliberately ignored the instructions of his employer in opening the tanker valve and lid in an area not designed to contain and control any release of the controlled hazardous substance.”
CCTV footage of the incident revealed that, when the spill occurred, Carrington remained close to the Dow Corning chemical site in Barry, South Wales, which had a trained and equipped emergency response team.
But he failed to alert Dow Corning to the spill and, after taking the hazardous materials warning signs off the vehicle, drove away leaving the spill unattended.
In evidence to the Deputy Commissioner, Carrington said he stopped the vehicle on an access road after leaving the Dow Chemical site to open the side discharge valve and top lid to prepare the tanker to be cleaned at the nearby tank wash.
He subsequently realised that some 260kg of Acetic Anhydride had been left in the tanker and noticed a discharge from the side valve. He called his employer to advise them about the spill and drove to the tank wash.
But after reviewing the CCTV footage, she concluded that Carrington took no apparent interest or preventative action to limit the discharge and then removed the hazardous marking signs from the tanker before driving off and leaving the spill unattended. Liquid was still splashing out from the tanker onto the road behind him as he drove away.
She added: “He did not check the delivery paperwork given to him by Dow Corning after delivery and he deliberately ignored the instructions of his employer in opening the tanker valve and lid in an area not designed to contain and control any release of the controlled hazardous substance.”
The site was subsequently attended by Dow Corning’s emergency response team after another driver mentioned the smell and having breathing difficulties.