"Serious Failings" Caused Explosion

Explosion At Factory In Scotland

03.09.2009

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said serious failings led to a factory explosion in Glasgow which killed nine people.

The admission comes after last month's findings of an inquiry headed by Lord Gill into the ICL plastics factory explosion in May 2004.

The report found "serious failings" by health and safety chiefs in the years leading up to the disaster.

Following the report the Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper gave the chairman of the HSE, Judith Hackitt, eight weeks to respond to the accusations and to look at ways of strengthening the safety of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) installations.

Ms Hackitt said Lord Gill's report was "fair and accurate" and lessons had been learned and action taken to improve inspection procedures.

She pledged to set out a list of general management improvements already under way.

The Glasgow explosion happened after underground piping installed in 1969 corroded.

Inspections over a 30-year period failed to identify the danger and only once concerns were raised over the existence and condition of the underground pipe.

The pipe exploded when leaking gas ignited killing nine people and seriously injuring a further 33.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I am pleased the HSE are to improve their inspection regime following this terrible explosion.

“As this case demonstrated, if there is a work accident involving an explosion, it is likely to lead to serious injury or loss of life.”

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