A security man who claims he was exposed to ammonia fumes in a Co Cork meat processing plant has sued in the High Court.
Father of three Brian White, who has not worked since the alleged exposure seven years ago, told the court how he became “overwhelmed and dizzy” as he took readings in the Kepak factory compressor room.
He said he staggered out of the room and gasped for air.
“My eyes were burning. I had a sore throat and a savage pain in the head,” he told Mr Justice Paul Coffey
Mr White said he went to get a maintenance man and had to stop his car to throw up but at one stage when he was vomiting he fell over and hurt his wrist. He said he continued with his work but he “was getting worse and worse”.
In evidence, he told the High Court he had no knowledge of ammonia, and he said he had not received instruction on the chemical.
Opening the case Mr White's counsel Dr John O'Mahony SC said Mr White suffered severe injuries and is still out of work.
Counsel said his side alleges the training offered for very noxious chemicals was “grossly inadequate”.
Experts in the case he said will say the leakage was probably caused by a design fault where the ammonia expelled from the room got back in, but this has subsequently been changed.
Dr O'Mahony said an investigation into the 2015 incident reported the gas detection system in the room was “faulty and old and was not fit for purpose”.
Alleged contributory negligence
Brian White (51),Pollardstown, Mitchelstown, Co Cork has sued the meat processing plant Kepak Cork with registered offices in Clonee, Co Meath and which runs the processing plant at Watergrasshill, Co Cork along with his employer Las Security Ltd which has offices at Damastown Industrial Park, Mulhuddart, Co Dublin.
He has claimed that while taking readings in the compressor room of the Kepak plant on September 23rd,2015 he was allegedly overcome by toxic ammonia fumes.
He has claimed there was an alleged failure to provide a safe place of work for him and there was also an alleged failure to provide him with adequate training or instruction.
The claims are denied by the defendants and Kepak has also claimed there was alleged contributory negligence on the part of Mr White because he had gone back into the room with the maintenance man after reporting the incident.
The action before Mr Justice Paul Coffey who was told the issue of loss of earnings is contentious in the case continues.