OK, I can't stand it...this ticks me off!

I'm on vacation, but I'm not dead... This was in The Scotsman today. The explosion that destroyed the ICL plastics plant in Glasgow Scotland on 11 May 2004 was caused by an LPG line that leaked into a basement that was being used as a storage locker by a contractor, who was killed along with several other workers when he went into the basement and flipped on the light. The son of then-ICL Tech managing director, Frank Stott, was hired as a co-op student for a holiday job, and given the responsibility of inspecting the pipeline. The HSE (UK Health and Safety Executive-- similar to OSHA in the USA) had told ICL that it was not essential that they replace the pipeline, which was installed without any corrosion protection. Just when are we going to get our act together and stop killing people?

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  • You can legislate until nobody can keep track of it all. That won't fix problems like this. This is incompetence, plain and simple.

    Who puts a student in charge of inspecting a pipeline? Who puts an LPG line through a locker room?

    And like so many things, incompetence is a statistical fact. It's like SIL ratings. Even the very best can and do fail. We can plan for these things until our systems are so convoluted that nobody understands them. There is a point of diminishing returns. At some level, this has to revert to an art of hiring and using the right people for the right job.

    Could this have been avoided? Sure. Would legislation solve the problem? I doubt it.

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