Page last updated at 20:17 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Safety changes after blast report

Rescue workers at the scene of the factory blast
Safety changes have been announced following a report into the explosion

The UK government has announced measures to boost safety following a factory blast in Glasgow which killed nine people more than five years ago.

The changes were announced after the government published its response to a report into the explosion at the ICL Plastics factory in May 2004.

Ministers said they were "determined similar events do not happen in the future".

The explosion was caused by a build-up of leaking gas from corroded pipes.

In his inquiry report, Lord Gill said the blast, which also left 33 people seriously injured, was an "avoidable disaster".

I hope that the government response goes some way to addressing the concerns of those who have suffered as a result of this tragic event
Yvette Cooper
Work and Pensions Secretary

The new measures were announced by Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper.

Ms Cooper said: "We are taking steps to strengthen gas safety on site in future."

She added: "All commercial buried metallic liquefied petroleum gas pipework will be replaced."

According to the government response, experts at the Health and Safety Executive believe this measure will "substantially reduce the risk".

Work to replace these pipes with polyethylene models is already under way and it is hoped this will be completed in higher-risk premises by the end of 2013 and in all industrial and commercial properties by the end of 2015.

Ms Cooper described the explosion as a "tragic and avoidable event".

'Avoidable event'

She said: "I would like to once again extend my condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured in the factory explosion at ICL Plastics Ltd in Glasgow.

"I hope that the government response goes some way to addressing the concerns of those who have suffered as a result of this tragic event, and reassures them that the government is determined to ensure that similar events do not happen in the future."

The Scottish Trades Union Congress welcomed the response.

General secretary, Grahame Smith, said: "The work already under way to replace buried piping will also significantly reduce the risk of another tragedy, although we should not lose sight of the fact that liquefied petroleum gas is no more dangerous than any other industrial process provided the risks are assessed properly and effective health and safety management practices are in place."

Mr Smith added: "The STUC has supported the families of those killed in this tragedy, a tragedy that could easily have been avoided.

"It is commendable that, despite their own loss, the families have always made it clear that they are determined that no other families should face the pain and suffering that they have had to endure."



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