Explosion at work
Firms ICL Plastics and ICL Tech have been fined £400,000 after faulty pipework caused an explosion that killed nine people and injured a further 33 in the Stockline explosion.
The pipe, which it is claimed would have cost just £405 for the plastics factory to replace, was what caused the blast that took place in 2004.
Families of the workers killed were unsatisfied with the penalty which amounted to just £44,000 per victim but as the case was tried under health and safety legislation the court was able to impose only a fine.
The explosion was as a result of liquefied petroleum gas being able to escape from old and corroded underground pipework and it was found that under the health and safety legislation that the two companies had failed from 1993 to ensure that the pipework posed no risk to employees.
The court had previously heard that operators, ICL Plastics and ICL Tech, had fixed tangible assets totalling £232,174.
Potential explosions at work need more risk assessment
David Urpeth, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who specialises in work place injuries commented: "Explosions at work often result in horrific accidents. As this case sadly demonstrates, they can have disastrous consequences.
"Firms who have potentially explosive substances on their sites must carry out adequate risk assessments and then ensure that they have a proper system of maintenance to provide employees with a safe place of work.
"I represented 75 people injured in the 2001 Conoco blast, described by Kevin Allers of HSE to be "possibly the most serious chemical incident in Britain since the Flixborough disaster in 1974."
"The clients were injured when over 170 tonnes of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) released from the Killingholme refinery caught fire. In this instance the resulting fire caused other pipework to fail and prompted a second explosion."