A WASTE treatment plant is facing claims its employees endure unsafe working conditions as the health and safety watchdog continue to investigate.

Last month, the Echo reported how the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed a whistle-blower had raised concerns about the levels of ammonia workers were being exposed to at the Tovi Eco Park waste treatment plant, in Basildon.

Since then, more workers have come forward and aired concerns about conditions at the plant, with one man describing the bio halls as “unnerving, scary and dangerous”.

The electrician who has asked to remain anonymous, claims he witnessed a systemic lack of appropriate training for those being asked to work in the highly technical environment.

He said: “I am gobsmacked no one has died or been seriously injured. I was self-employed and was supposed to start there full time but due to various gases and dust, I ended up in hospital with severe inflammation of my airways.”

In an email exchange seen by the Echo, the contractor was told his contract was being cancelled within hours of him notifying them he was suffering with breathing difficulties.

The man added: “You couldn’t imagine the unnerving, quite scary, dangerous and extremely arduous conditions in there.

“Imagine hell in your mind and you will be close – I am not exaggerating. Even the on-site health and safety managers refuse to go in there.

The electrician described having to help extract a man from the bio halls one night after he became overwhelmed by the conditions.

In an emailed report, seen by the Echo, he described helping a cleaner who had “staggered” out of the bio halls before he was told it was the cleaner’s first day and that he didn’t have his mask on because he was told he only needed it when the “smell was strong”.

A second man, who said he was contracted to work as part of a team responsible for high-risk environment on-site rescue, claims a colleague was left with severe burns to his legs after one incident.

He said: “He sent the pictures to me and asked me for advice. I asked if it had been recorded or if he was given first aid and he said no but that he was told he could stay off on full pay until it cleared up. He was worried he would lose his job.”

He told the Echo the man suffered the burns after entering a chamber which was not cooled or ventilated properly and using chemicals which evaporated and burnt his legs.

The HSE confirmed it is still investigating the situation.

A spokesman added: “HSE is investigating a number of concerns that have been raised. Our enquiries are ongoing.”

A spokesman for Urbaser Balfour Beatty, which operates the plant, said: “The health and safety of our workforce and the public is always our primary concern. The facility fully complies and operates in line with all UK regulations. 

“In addition, all staff undergo rigorous training to ensure that all work across the facility is carried out safely. These allegations put to us regarding health and safety have  have no basis in fact.”