Fatal drink on college trip leads to heavy penalty

Lewes Crown Court fined East Sussex County Council after six people mistook dishwasher fluid for orange squash, leading to the death of a 60-year old man with Down’s Syndrome. The drink had been prepared in advance of a planned visit to sporting facilities at Plumpton Agricultural College by people from the council-run St Nicholas day centre in Lewes.

It could not be established who mixed the liquid but an investigation found that the dishwasher fluid was in a similar looking container as orange squash and had not been locked away. East Sussex County Council admitted breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and last month was fined £50,000 with costs of £27,670.

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