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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 11:40 GMT
Factory deaths company prosecuted
Factory worker rescue
Nine people died and dozens were injured in the blast
The owners and operators of a Glasgow factory where nine people died in an explosion are to be prosecuted, the Crown Office has confirmed.

Officials said ICL Plastics would face action at the High Court over alleged breaches of health and safety law.

A spokesman said survivors and families of victims had been informed. As yet, no date has been set for the trial.

Five men and four women were killed and about 40 people injured in the blast in Maryhill on 11 May, 2004.

The Crown Office said the decision to prosecute ICL Plastics and ICL Tech under the Health and Safety at Work Act followed the submission of a report conducted by the procurator fiscal in Glasgow, Strathclyde Police and the Health and Safety Executive.

A spokesman said: "A detailed initial report of the investigation was submitted to Crown Counsel in May 2005.

"Crown Counsel subsequently instructed a number of further, specific investigations before reaching the decision to prosecute."

The company has been accused of:

  • Failing to maintain pipes carrying hazardous gas or gases

  • A failure to ensure the safety of staff

  • Failing to carry out "suitable and sufficient" risk assessment.

The spokesman added: "Survivors, next of kin, and others directly affected by the explosion have been informed of this decision, and will continue to be kept informed by the procurator fiscal."

The four-storey building in Grovepark Road was destroyed by the blast shortly after 1200 BST on Tuesday, 11 May.

A major emergency was declared and rescuers worked tirelessly to free victims trapped in the rubble. It was four days before the last body was removed.

GLASGOW BLAST VICTIMS
Margaret Brownlie, 49, Strathaven
Annette Doyle, 34, Glasgow
Peter Ferguson, 52, Kilbarchan
Thomas McAulay, 41, Mount Florida, Glasgow
Stewart McColl, 60, West Kilbride
Tracey McErlane, 27, Possilpark, Glasgow
Kenneth Murray, 45, Paisley
Timothy Smith, 31, Johnstone
Ann Trench, 34, Colston, Glasgow

The authorities promised a thorough investigation into the tragedy and relatives of the victims were backed by MPs and trades unionists in their call for a public inquiry.

The Crown Office spokesman said: "It is a matter of public record that the lord advocate has made it clear that there will be an inquiry, in public, into the circumstances and causes of this explosion.

"In order to avoid any possible prejudice to criminal proceedings, an inquiry can only happen once these proceedings are concluded."

Responding to the Crown Office announcement, Lorna Downie, the wife of ICL Plastics chairman Campbell Downie, said: "I just can't believe it. I'm just too upset to comment."




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