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Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
BP refinery boycott after toxic leak
Grangemouth refinery
Workers were evacuated following a toxic leak
More than 300 BP oil refinery workers were evacuated from the plant following a toxic leak from a sewage tank, it has emerged.

The contractors have refused to return to work until BP bosses have given them safety assurances about the Grangemouth refinery in Stirlingshire.

The workers were cleared from a construction site after the leak was detected on Monday morning.

The company has insisted the amount of escaped gas was below statutory health and safety levels.

BP Logo
A spokesman said workers' concerns are being taken seriously
However, a spokesman admitted the emissions included small amounts of the chemical benzine, which has been found to cause cancer in high doses.

A BP spokesman said the workers' concerns were being taken seriously and a series of presentations was being prepared to reassure them about the company's safety procedures.

The men, who are building a 100m ethanol production plant, are continuing to arrive for work and receive their wages.

"Some of the men were complaining about a smell," said the spokesman.

"We investigated and traced the odour to tanks that were nearby the site and as a precautionary measure the workers were moved off the site.

'No health risks'

"We have carried out gas monitoring and found there to be no cause for concern.

"The levels detected were well below any government or Health and Safety Executive-recommended levels and there have been no further leaks since that time."

The spokesman said an operational health team has offered the workers further assurances but stressed that if anyone does feel unwell they should visit the site medical centre.

"We have held meetings with union officials and a series of meetings is planned for tomorrow where the workers will be taken through a consultation exercise to make sure everybody on site is aware of the situation."

A safety task force was set up last year following several incidents at Grangemouth, including a major power failure, a steam line rupture and a fire.

David Nisbet reports
"Managers are seeking to reassure contractors about safety"
See also:

10 Jun 00 | Scotland
Second emergency at BP plant
16 Mar 00 | Scotland
Refinery cancer link dismissed
14 Mar 00 | Business
BP buys Burmah Castrol
09 Nov 98 | The Company File
BP to create 3,000 jobs
09 Jun 00 | Scotland
Refinery blast cause revealed
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