Notting Hill acid attack highlights responsibilites of businesses to be prepared

Three people have been injured in a suspected acid attack on Westbourne Grove, a popular road with numerous shop and restaurants  in Notting Hill in London. 

At approximately 2pm on Tuesday (04/09/18) emergency services responded to reports of a "noxious substance attack". 

There were reports from shop owners saying they had witnessed a "crazy man... spray(ing) people's faces". The man is suspected to be a shoplifter. 

The National Association Resilience Unit (NARU) has released refreshed guidance called 'Remove, Remove, Remove', designed to instruct individuals how to treat a suspected exposure to a hazardous substance.

They advise that if you think someone has been exposed to a hazardous substance:

  • Remove the individual from the immediate area to avoid further exposure to the substance 
  • Remove their outer clothing, if affected by the substance
  • Remove the substance from skin using a dry absorbent material to either soak it up or brush it off

Employers and venue owners should be aware of their responsibility to conduct risk assessments associated with acid attacks and plan for how to respond to them subject to the Health and Safety Act 1974 as well as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. This includes supplying appropriate equipment for responding to an acid attack:

  • 1 x high density recycled plastic box with seal 
  • 2 x chemical resistant gloves 
  • 2 x anti-fog, chemical-resistant goggles 
  • 1 x 5ltr water bottle 
  • 2 x bottle shower caps to control the rate of water pouring from a bottle
  • 2 x good quality scissors capable of cutting through clothing
  • 4 x face shields recommended by the Health and Safety Executive 

For further guidance on how to deal with suspected acid attacks, please visit the National Business Crime Centre