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Friday, 21 July, 2000, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Grangemouth asbestos order
Grangemouth
Older units are lined with asbestos
Health and safety officials have ordered oil giant BP Amoco to tighten up the way it handles asbestos at its Grangemouth plant in Scotland.

The company has promised to improve safety at the complex after a series of incidents, including a fire in June.

The Health and Safety Executive's legally binding order means improvements must be in place by the end of August.

The HSE wants to safeguard against problems arising from the asbestos which lines the plant's older units.

'Better procedures'

Workers were put at a higher risk of exposure to asbestos dust when the blaze occurred last month.

Safety officials believed the company should have had better procedures in place to handle a possible threat from asbestos.

Grangemouth's recent problems
29 July, 1999
Complete power failure
20 November, 1999
Problem with catalytic cracker, blow-out followed
25 November, 1999 Problem in a gas compressor, out of action for 10 days
26 January, 2000
Two boilers broken, major incident control committee on alert
29 May, 2000
Complete power failure, MICC on alert
7 June, 2000
High pressure pipe fracture, massive escape of steam
10 June, 2000
Fire in refinery unit, which took six hours to control
To date, there is no evidence of asbestos contamination outside the site in Falkirk.

The notice has been made as part of a major inquiry by the HSE and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

BP Amoco officials have also launched their own investigation into the running of the Grangemouth refinery.

They have promised a "root and branch" review of equipment, operating systems and management processes.

The site has been hit by a number of safety scares over the last few months.

The most recent happened on 10 June when 60 firefighters took six hours to control a fire at the petrochemicals complex.

Refinery closed

Four days earlier, a high-pressure steam pipe broke, causing a loud blast and sending clouds of vapour billowing into the air.

The refinery unit, in which the fire broke out, remains shut and the cause is under investigation. Work on repairing the fractured pipe continues.

It will stay idle until a technical and safety audit has been completed by the review team.

The task force is being led by Rick Porter, a senior manager from BP Amoco's US refining system. Its members have been drawn from the company's worldwide businesses and independent consultants.

The task force will report to Grangemouth director Susan Caito.

The HSE and Sepa report is expected to be completed within the next few months when its findings will be made public.

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See also:

30 Jun 00 | Scotland
Asbestos errors reviewed
12 Jun 00 | Scotland
BP launches refinery review
10 Jun 00 | Scotland
Fire prompts fresh safety calls
10 Jun 00 | Scotland
Second emergency at BP plant
09 Jun 00 | Scotland
Refinery blast cause revealed
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