Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 16:34 UK

Gas questions at factory inquiry

Stockline factory
Nine people were killed and 33 injured in the explosion in 2004

A public inquiry into a fatal factory explosion in Glasgow has heard issues surrounding the safety of gas pipes.

Nine people died when the ICL plastics factory in Maryhill was flattened by the blast in May 2004.

Gas engineer Keith Young told day two of the inquiry that he could not think of any incidents where corrosion-protected pipework had failed.

The explosion was caused by liquefied petroleum gas escaping from old pipework in the four-storey building.

The inquiry heard from retired workers for Calor Gas who supplied liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to the factory until shortly before the disaster.

Mr Young said customers were responsible for laying pipework themselves but the company would provide assistance if required.

Excavation check

"I'm not aware of any shelf-life being specified anywhere," he told the inquiry.

Mr Young said Calor put "a lot of commitment" into training staff and he was confident that if fitters spotted a problem then they would report back to the company.

It emerged that health and safety officials had recommended in 1988 that part of the pipework carrying LGP vapour into the ICL factory be excavated for a check.

ICL called in Calor, which wrote a response to the Health and Safety Executive the following year.

The letter addressed several recommendations but did not appear to make reference to the excavation work.

The inquiry has yet to hear whether the recommended excavation was carried out at that time.


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