Prompt action by staff averted a major incident after a perc leak at a Johnsons store in Brimingham. Johnsons said the leak was due to human error.

The accident happened at the Merry Hill centre store on Mayday Bank Holiday. A garment was accidently trapped in the door preventing an effective seal being made when the door was closed.

Commenting on the incident, John Blud, Johnson’s regional director, told Laundry and Cleaning News that less than 10 litres of solvent had leaked and on discovering what had happened staff had acted quickly and followed health and safety regulations to the letter.

The leak was mopped up with absorbent blankets and the fire services called. Mr Blud said that this was a very rare incident and due soley to human error.

An engineer had checked out the machine the same day and said there was no mechanical fault. Dräger tests confirmed that there were no solvent fumes in the air.

Johnsons have re-emphasised to staff the need to check that machines are sealed properly after loading. However, the company is happy that once the incident was identified, staff took the correct action.

A spokeswoman for the Merry Hill centre confirmed that a major incident had been avoided. She said that store staff had acted very quickly in conjunction with the emergency services to bring the incident under control. The store had been evacuated but no other areas of the mall had been affected and nobody had been hurt, although staff were taken to hospital for observation.