Plastics Factory Fined £400,000 Over Blast

The owners of a Glasgow-based plastics factory have been fined £400,000 for safety breaches which resulted in nine deaths, it has emerged.

ICL plastics and ICL Tech were each fined £200,000 each at the High Court at Glasgow following a joint investigation into the explosion and building collapse at the ICL site in Maryhill, Glasgow on 11 May 2004.

The penalty was imposed following a two-day hearing. They had previously pleaded guilty to four health and safety breaches relating to the incident in May 2004.

The Health and safety Executive (HSE) welcomed the completion of the criminal prosecution. Stewart Campbell, HSE Director, Scotland, said: Our first thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who died, and the many other people who were injured in this tragic incident.

"The scale, complexity and challenge of our investigation was massive, and was pursued through an innovative joint investigation involving HSE/HSL, Strathclyde Police and Crown office and the Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). The investigation necessitated effective co-ordination and co-operation between the investigators and the commitment of substantial resource. HSE/HSL drew on their investigative and forensic expertise to identify the cause of the explosion as a leak from a corroded pipe carrying Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The LPG then accumulated in an unventilated room, and the ignition of this LPG caused an explosion of sufficient force to cause the building to collapse."

Mr Campbell continued: "It is important for all those affected by the explosion that lessons are learned and I would like to remind all users and suppliers of LPG of the risk from buried pipes carrying LPG, particularly when located near areas where gas can accumulate. Everyone should ensure that problems which are out of sight are not out of mind.

"The dangers posed by buried pipes can be overcome by a systematic approach to risk management and the findings of the investigation reinforce the need for effective arrangements for the maintenance, renewal or repositioning of buried pipes. HSE strongly advises that buried metallic pipes are effectively corrosion protected and maintained, or replaced either with over ground pipes or buried plastic pipes constructed and installed to the appropriate standards."

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