HSE to Prosecute Two Companies for Refinery Explosion

An explosion and fire the Pembroke Refinery on June 2, 2011, killed four workers and serious injured another worker.

England's Health and Safety Executive informed two companies on July 24 that they face prosecution following an explosion at the Pembroke Refinery on June 2, 2011, that killed four workers and serious injured another worker.

Valero Energy UK Limited and B & A Contracts Limited are to face charges under Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The charges relate to the deaths of Dennis Riley, Robert Broome, Andrew Jenkins, and Julie Jones and major injuries to Andrew Phillips. All of them were working on the Amine Recovery Unit when then explosion and fire occurred.

At the time of the incident, the refinery, located in west Wales, was operated by Chevron Limited, but ownership changed in August 2011.

The defendants are due to appear at Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court on Sept. 24 at 2 p.m.

"Following a painstaking and extremely thorough investigation, much of which was conducted jointly with Dyfed Powys Police, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges," said Jane Lassey, HSE's deputy director of field operations.

According to HSE, the refinery is a top tier establishment under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 (as amended). The Environment Agency in England and Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland, and HSE are jointly responsible as the Competent Authority for regulating major hazardous industrial sites in the UK under the COMAH regulations. They require operators of major hazard sites subject to the regulations to take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences to people and the environment. Operators of top tier COMAH sites are also required to submit written safety reports to the Competent Authority and to prepare emergency plans to deal with the consequences of a major accident. Operators and others (including contractors, designers, and suppliers) also have relevant duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and under other environmental legislation to protect land, air and water, including the Water Resources Act 1991.

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