One dead after gas blow-out in Boulby
17 June 2016
The accident occurred in the early hours of the morning where rescue teams had been attempting to deal with a situation involving the release of gas. The sudden and powerful gas blow-out which killed the worker did not produce an explosion. The other employees in the mine at the time were evacuated safely.
John Anderson, 56, had worked at the mine for 35 years and was one of a hundred that were underground at the time of the blow-out.
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has called for an investigation. Mr Blenkinsop said the mine has been a safe working environment for over a decade, but with two tragic events occurring in the past few months, he is concerned that it must not become a pattern. He added that he wants to be reassured that redundancies at the mine have not led to altered day-to-day activities that could have impacted on health and safety at the mine. The mine produces half of the UK’s potash supply, a substance used for agricultural fertilizer. At 4,600 ft. deep, the mine is the second deepest of its kind in Europe and has a number of tunnels extending beneath the North Sea.
The incident raises further health and safety issues at the Boulby mine following a number of prior incidents. In June 2014, the mine was found to have failed to ensure enough personnel were trained to respond to emergencies. In 2007, a 24 year old worker was killed following a tunnel collapse and in 2012 a 50 year old man was airlifted to hospital after a burst hose forced him against a skip.
Simon Hunter, a safety manager at ICL UK, the owners of the mine, was quoted as saying that previous incidents were completely unrelated to this tragic event. Mr Hunter added that reports of redundancies affecting health and safety were wrong.
ICL UK has offered continuing support to the worker’s family.