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December 22, 2008

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Corus Port Talbot blast- Steel industry must learn lessons from fatal blast

This is the conclusion of the HSE’s report on the investigation into the incident at Corus Steelworks in Port Talbot, South Wales, on 8 November 2001.

Three Corus employees – Andrew Hutin, Stephen Galsworthy and Len Radford – died when No.5 Blast Furnace exploded, while a further 12 employees and contractors suffered serious injuries.

The investigation, carried out jointly by South Wales Police and the HSE, resulted in the prosecution of Corus UK Ltd in December 2006 under sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the HSWA 1974. The company was fined £1.33 million and ordered to pay costs of £1.74 million.

The cause of the incident was determined as water entering the blast furnace, following the failure of safety-critical water-cooling systems. The resulting explosion lifted the 5000-tonne furnace around 0.75m from its supporting structure, releasing hot material and gases into the cast house.

The report contains 18 recommendations to be learned from the incident. Commenting on it, HSE director for Wales, Terry Rose, said: “This report does not provide any new information on this incident. It draws together the main points of all the information, which has already been put in the public domain through the various public hearings that have taken place since it occurred. It summarises the lessons to be learned both for Corus UK and the steelmaking industry.”

The report is available to download from the HSE’s website at

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