Fatal Factory Explosion Inquiry Opens

02.07.2008

The public inquiry into a factory explosion in Scotland in which nine people were killed has beginning.

The ICL/Stockline building in Glasgow collapsed after a build-up of gas exploded in May 2004. Nine people died and more than 30 workers were seriously injured, many of them pulled from the rubble by rescue crews.

Last August, the city's High Court fined ICL Plastics and ICL Tech £400,000 after they admitted health and safety breaches. The court heard that the explosion which destroyed the factory was caused by a build-up of liquid petroleum gas which leaked out of pipework installed in 1969 that had not been inspected or assessed for risk.

The inquiry into the blast is the first of its kind to be held on mainland Britain. Its aim will be to investigate the circumstances leading to the explosion and to make recommendations on the lessons to be learned.

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, who oversees prosecutions in the Scottish criminal courts, has said it was hoped the inquiry would help prevent another tragedy like Stockline occurring.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: I welcome the commencement of this public enquiry following the terrible industrial accident in Glasgow.

"Employers who either manufacture, process or store explosive substances have a duty to do so in a way that ensures workers and members of the public are safe.

"As this tragic case shows, if employers breach health and safety standards fatal consequences can follow.

"As a major national law firm with an office in Glasgow, I shall watch the progression of the public enquiry with interest.

"Anyone injured in this or any other industrial accident should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

"I represent many workers who have been injured or killed in work accidents."

Mr Urpeth represented over 75 workers and many residents who were injured in the 2001 blast at the Killingholme refinery when over 170 tonnes of liquid petroleum gas caught fire. Conoco-Phillips, who owned the plant, was eventually fined £1m for breaching health and safety regulations after the explosion at its Humber refinery.

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