Criticism Over Fatal Factory Blast

Explosion At Scottish Factory

21.07.2009

Risks were "not identified and understood" before a factory blast killed nine workers and injured another 33.

An inquiry into the explosion headed by Lord Gill found it was an "avoidable disaster" and called for measures to be taken to stop a similar tragedy happening at other sites.

The ICL plastics blast in Glasgow was caused by a build up of leaking gas which ignited.

Lord Gill said similar metallic pipe systems should be considered an "urgent priority" and replaced with polyethylene.

The piping at the factory was "out of sight and out of mind", the report said. "It was inadequately protected when buried, it was subject to corrosion and ultimately it failed," it continued.

Management of ICL faced criticism over a lack of "knowledge and understanding" about the dangers leading to the explosion, which happened in May 2004.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was also criticised for an oversight in "failing to appreciate" the hazards posed by the buried pipes.

The Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy said: "What is clear is that this disaster was entirely avoidable. It could have been avoided and it should have been avoided."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I would echo Lord Gill’s calls for steps to be taken to prevent a repeat of this disastrous work accident.

“Having dealt with litigation following a previous factory explosion at an oil refinery, I am all too aware of the misery caused following such an industrial accident.

“I would hope that employers dealing with flammable and explosive substances will heed the lessons of this tragic explosion at work as well as the findings of Lord Gill.”

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.

If you have lost a loved one due to an accident at work, our serious injury solicitors could help you claim compensation to help get the answers you deserve. Visit our fatal accident claims or accidents at work claims page for more information.