Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

EPA fines Bartter Enterprises $15,000 for poisonous fumes

Media release: 25 October 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Bartter Enterprises $15,000 after 42 employees of the company’s chicken processing plant at Beresfield were overcome by chlorine dioxide fumes and taken to hospital in March 2016. Bartter is a subsidiary of poultry producer Baiada.

The EPA’s investigation found the fumes were caused by an overdose of chlorine in Bartter’s dosing system which sanitises equipment.

EPA Acting Director Hunter Karen Marler said the EPA’s completed investigation showed the incident could have been avoided.

“Bartter had failed to implement learnings from a similar incident at their Adelaide plant three years ago,” she said.

“The company should have had measures in place to protect the health of their workers at the Beresfield plant including better procedures and staff training for the dosing system.”

No offsite health or environmental impacts were detected from the fumes as the incident was confined to internal areas of the plant. The EPA has worked closely with SafeWork NSW during its investigation.

“The EPA is pleased that Bartter is no longer using chlorine dioxide to sanitise cutting equipment. Bartter have co-operated fully with the EPA during the investigation,” Ms Marler said.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance. The EPA takes in a range of factors into account before delivering a proportionate regulatory response, including the degree of environmental harm, potential health impacts, compliance history, public interest and best environmental outcomes.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/130251epacompl.htm.

/ENDS

Background 

Shortly after 9am on 7 March 2016, Bartter reported to the EPA that there had been a discharge of chlorine dioxide at the plant. This resulted in staff being evacuated. Chlorine dioxide is used for disinfection and sterilisation.  

Fire and Rescue NSW Hazmat attended the incident as lead combat agency. NSW Ambulance and the EPA also attended. 

On the day of the incident, once Fire and Rescue NSW Hazmat had declared the site safe, EPA staff inspected the premises. The EPA understands that the incident at no stage posed a health or environmental risk outside the premises.  

The EPA issued a media release about the incident in March

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 25 October 2016