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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May, 2004, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Joint inquiry into factory blast
Ariel view of explosion site
Nine people died in the explosion
Details of how the investigation into the Stockline Plastics factory blast will be conducted have been released.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and Strathclyde Police will carry out a joint inquiry with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Police and the HSE will report their findings to the fiscal, while the HSE will also report to the Health and Safety Commission.

Nine people died in last week's blast at the factory in Maryhill, Glasgow.

Lord Advocate Colin Boyd and Bill Callaghan, the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission, said on Wednesday that they had agreed to conduct a joint investigation.

"A joint investigation protocol has already been prepared and a coordinated approach to the collection of evidence initiated," said a spokesperson.

"Effective co-operation between the investigating authorities will build on the excellent relationships established during the rescue and stabilisation phases.

It is extremely important that a full and thorough investigation is carried out into the cause of this tragic explosion
Patricia Ferguson MSP
"After the investigation and any subsequent criminal proceedings have been concluded, then the lord advocate will consider the need for a fatal accident inquiry and consideration will be given to the need for, and nature and remit of, any other form of inquiry."

Any lessons learned from the investigation will be conveyed to the relevant organisations by the HSE, in consultation with the fiscal.

Local MSP Patricia Ferguson welcomed the statement.

She said: "It is extremely important that a full and thorough investigation is carried out into the cause of this tragic explosion.

"Strathclyde Police and the Health and Safety Executive have the necessary skills and expertise to work together to provide answers and it's essential that they are given the time to do this."

If there is anything that emerges in the coming weeks that needs to be addressed urgently in terms of public safety, then clearly that takes precedence
Catherine Dyer
Procurator fiscal
Catherine Dyer, the area procurator fiscal for Glasgow, will lead the COPFS investigation.

Ms Dyer told BBC Radio's Newsdrive programme the case was a high priority.

She said: "If there is anything that emerges in the coming weeks that needs to be addressed urgently in terms of public safety, then clearly that takes precedence.

"We would be working with the Health and Safety Executive to make sure that anything of that sort was communicated quickly to the public and to other workers that might be in that situation.

"But if that's not what happens, then the position is that we proceed with the investigation and do it as quickly as we can to get to a resolution, so that the families and those involved do get to find out as soon as they can - clearly understanding that it is an actual, appropriate answer after a thorough investigation."

Detective Superintendent Jim Porteous is the police's senior investigating officer, while head of operations Stuart North will lead the HSE investigation team.


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