‘Risk of ex­plo­sion’ dis­cussed just days be­fore fire

Macclesfield Express - - BOSLEY MILL TRAGEDY - STU­ART GREER

THE chair­man of Bosley Parish Coun­cil said fears of an ex­plo­sion at the mill were dis­cussed only on Tues­day night.

Sam Al­ston, chair­man of Bosley Parish Coun­cil, said they had dis­cussed con­cerns over health and safety at the mill at its last meet­ing.

He said: “Only on Tues­day, our for­mer vice-chair­man Stan Swindells, who owns Cheshire De­mo­li­tion, ex­pressed con­cerns about the po­ten­tial for ex­plo­sion. Three days later and some­thing quite un­be­liev­able has hap­pened.”

No for­mal ac­tion was taken and it is not be­lieved that the mat­ter was raised with the com­pany.

Cheshire East Coun­cil has also re­vealed that it had vis­ited the site just two weeks be­fore the in­ci­dent fol­low­ing com­plaints, it has been re­vealed.

Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East coun­cil, said coun­cil en­force­ment of­fi­cers were on the site two weeks ago to make sure the firm cleared the area af­ter com­plaints of saw­dust.

He said: “We were on site two weeks ago clear­ing it up and they did well to clear it up.

“We shouldn’t as­sume any­thing.

“There are on-go­ing com­plaints, but when you have this na­ture of busi­ness, close to a com­mu­nity, there will be com­plaints about dust and noise and pol­lu­tion which we as a coun­cil have been deal­ing with.

“The po­lice and HSE need to in­ves­ti­gate.”

The po­lice are cur­rently con­duct­ing a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion with the Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive (HSE) to es­tab­lish the cause of the ex­plo­sion. The site, which made linoleum prod­ucts out of wood ground down to a pow­der or flour and is run by Wood Treat­ment Ltd, was also struck by fires in 2010 and 2012.

It has also been re­vealed that the firm was served with five im­prove­ment no­tices by the HSE in 2013 and 2014. Four of the no­tices said they had “failed to en­sure that the risk from fire or ex­plo­sion” from gas tanks on site had been elim­i­nated or re­duced.

Fol­low­ing in­spec­tions a few months later, all the im­prove­ments had been made and the health and safety no­tices com­plied with.

Yesterday, in a state­ment made af­ter the ex­plo­sion, the own­ers said they were “com­mit­ted” to es­tab­lish­ing the cause and would co-op­er­ate fully with the author­i­ties.

They added: “We feel it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment fur­ther at this time while in­ves­ti­ga­tions are on­go­ing.”

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