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Whistleblower tells of depot fuel danger in Hollingdean
Refuse workers’ lives are being put at risk by a series of health and safety blunders at a busy depot, a whistleblower has claimed.
Brighton and Hove City Council has launched an investigation after a member of staff at its refuse and recycling centre in Hollingdean said contaminated diesel was being kept in plastic wheeled bins.
The whistleblower told The Argus: “If the fire brigade does a spot check they will most probably have the power to close this depot down.”
The whistleblower claimed it was fuel that had been kept in plastic wheeled bins.
However the local authority said the fluid was largely water, although some fuel was also present. The following day granules were spread over the mess to soak it up.
A number of other workers said during a recent fire evacuation the key to the depot gate could not be found so employees had to walk to another exit point.
However the barrier at the main entrance was left up and unattended which meant vehicles were able to drive straight into the site while the rest of it was being evacuated.
The whistleblower, whose name The Argus is not revealing, said: “I have complained about things but nothing has been resolved.
“Over the years nearly every complaint by staff has been swept under the carpet. Now there’s a massive mound and no one can get over it.
“The place is a logistical nightmare.”
Mark Turner, of the GMB, said: “I’m not aware of these incidents but if this has happened of course it’s a serious concern.
“Storing fuel, contaminated or otherwise, in wheeled bins which are plastic and not metal is very dangerous and putting the health and safety of employees in and around the depot at risk.”
Gillian Marston, the council’s head of Cityclean and Cityparks, said: “Some water did get into our underground tanks from the filling points but this has been investigated and fixed.
“The contractor who did this should have also contained the water in secure drums. This is now being investigated.
“Health and safety is a priority and we’re very happy to discuss any issues with staff and their representatives directly.”
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