Companies

Two injured in explosion at Tata Steel plant in UK

Vidya Ram London | Updated on April 26, 2019 Published on April 26, 2019

Tata Steel plant is seen in Port Talbot, South Wales (file photo)   -  Reuters

Tata Steel Europe, Britain’s Health and Safety Executive and emergency services are looking into the causes of an explosion at the company’s steel works plant in Wales that injured two workers, as unions and local politicians called for a detailed review of what happened to ensure lessons are learnt. 

A blast took place shortly after 3.30 in the morning — captured by local residents who shared images on social media — at the UK’s largest steel plant in Port Talbot, Wales, which employs over 4,000. 

Two workers who sustained minor injuries have been discharged, the company confirmed. “We are currently investigating the cause of the incident and are looking to minimise any impact on production.”

Safety concerns

South Wales police said the cause of the initial explosion that triggered a number of fires was believed to have been a train that carried molten metal into the steel works. The site’s own emergency services, as well as local fire and rescue services, police and accident and emergency services attended the scene. The fires were soon brought under control, and police said that there was no need for concern around hazardous effects from the smoke. 

Britain’s Health and Safety Executive confirmed that its inspectors were on site and an investigation was underway. 

Local MP Stephen Kinnock warned that the incident raised “real concerns about safety at the works. It could have been a lot worse…Tata Steel Europe must conduct a full review, to improve safety,” he said. 

He was joined by Bethan Sayed, member of the Welsh Assembly for the region, who said she had contacted Tata Steel for a full outline of what had happened. “Not only must we protect our workforce, but ensure safety and security for residents nearby.” 

A spokesperson for the Community union said their representatives had been in urgent meetings at the site to discuss the incident and had made clear to the company that it was important that “the time and space is taken to understand how this happened before production is resumed.” 

“Our members’ health and safety will always be a priority for both the union and the company…. It is important that all appropriate procedures are followed now to ensure lessons are learnt and any necessary changes are implemented.” 

“There will be a full investigation and Unite will ensure action is taken on all recommendations,” said Steve Turner, Assistant general secretary for manufacturing at the Unite Union, which also represents Tata Steel workers. 

Published on April 26, 2019
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