|Volume 50 Number 43, December 5, 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
Four workers were tragically killed in a large explosion at a wastewater treatment facility at Avonmouth in Bristol on December 3. A fifth person was injured in the blast. Firefighters were called to Wessex Water's premises in Avonmouth to search for missing people, but the rescue ended in tragedy. Police declared a major incident and are investigating the circumstances of the blast. Enquiries will involve several connected agencies. The company is working with the Health and Safety Executive as part of the investigation. People have been urged to avoid the area. The explosion, which shook buildings nearby, happened in a chemical tank at the water recycling centre. Gases collect and are collected in this type of process. The silo involved holds treated biosolids before they are recycled to land as an organic soil conditioner. It is not common knowledge of what happens to the gases and what precautions are made.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: "This has already been such a challenging year, and this news of the further loss of life is another terrible blow. As a city, we will mourn for them."
Workers' Weekly sends its condolences to the families and colleagues of the workers who died in the explosion, and pays tribute to the emergency crews who attended the scene.
Workers continue to work in unsafe conditions, including during the pandemic where the maximum precautions have not been taken such as social distancing and wearing of PPE. Accidents are still a regular occurrence, for many reasons across industry, where managements still cut corners.
Workers continue to die in various places at their places of work. In the Black Country, West Midlands, on November 30, for example, a man in his 40s was struck by falling slabs at a Dudley industrial estate. A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "Police were called to reports of slabs having fallen on to a man at an industrial unit in Lyde Green, Cradley, at about 3.20 pm". He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
These deaths, whether through neglect by the companies concerned, or by forcing the workers to operate in unsafe conditions, underline the necessity for workers to be involved in deciding on safety procedures at work. The causes of these tragedies must be identified and remedied, and proper compensation paid to the victims and their families. Unsafe working conditions are unacceptable.