Conoco Phillips oil plant fire
News that two workers at a Teesside oil plant have been left fighting for their lives after a flash fire has forced lawyer acting against Conoco Philllips to express concerns over Conoco Phillips safety record. The men received first degree electrical burns in the fire at the Conoco Phillips site at Seal Sands, Middlesbrough on Wednesday.
The two workers, one in his 50s and one in his 30s, suffered horrific burns to the head, neck and chest in the incident in an electrical sub-station on the site at 2.30pm on Wednesday 19 July 2006.
The Health and Safety Executive has launched a probe and inspectors started their investigation on Thursday 20th July.
Only a year ago Conoco-Phillips was ordered to pay more than £1m for breaching health and safety regulations after an explosion at its Humber refinery.
The accident in 2001 saw over 170 tonnes of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) released from the Killingholme refinery and caught fire. The resulting fire caused other pipework to fail and prompted a second explosion.
David Urpeth a Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, who represented over 75 workers who were injured in the 2001 blast said I am troubled that there has been another accident at a Conoco Phillips so soon after the explosion at Immingham.
The accident at Immingham was described by Kevin Allers of HSE as possibly the most serious chemical incident in Britain since the Flixborough disaster in 1974. Despite the severity of the accident at Immingham, we see two workers being very badly injured in an accident at another Conoco Philips site. I wonder what lessons have been learned.
Last week saw the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill introduced in the Commons. The Bill will create a new offence of corporate manslaughter.
Mr Urpeth Says, Whilst I welcome the bill, I am disappointed that individual directors will not be held personally liable under the bill. Personal liability would focus the minds of directors and ensure that they placed the health and safety of workers and the public at the very top of their companies agendas. That way, we might see a reduction in tragic but avoidable accidents.
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