Emergency services were last week called to a brewery after reports of a gas leak.

Eleven employees, two police officers and nine firefighters were hospitalised following an ammonia leak at the Carlsberg plant in Northampton. A worker died and another is in a serious but stable condition.

Ammonia is a widely used industrial chemical noted for having a strong urine-like smell. Exposure can cause serious burns and lung tissue damage. In 2013, at least 15 people died in an ammonia leak at a storage plant in Shanghai.

Workers were seen leaving the Carlsberg site with tissues over their mouths.

Northamptonshire Police said six fire pumps were called to “secure” the site but that no cordons or road closures were needed.

It is thought the leak was confined to the plant and that members of the public were not at risk. However, as a precaution the Health and Safety Executive requested fire crews went back to the plant to make sure the gas had gone and “all of the valves have been completely isolated”.

Carlsberg UK confirmed ammonia was used as a refrigerant and in the production process.

The company said nothing was more important than the safety of its workers. It stated “We are working closely with the authorities to investigate how this tragic incident occurred and we will be in a position to say more once a full investigation has been concluded.”

Production at the plant has temporarily stopped.

A joint police and HSE investigation is expected to continue over the coming weeks.

If Ellis Whittam did their Health & Safety, this probably wouldn’t have happened!

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