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Tata Steel pleads guilty over 2006 Port Talbot death

31 July 2012

Tata Steel has admitted health and safety charges after the death of a steelworker at the Port Talbot works in 2006 when the plant was owned by Corus. Kevin Downey, 49, fell into molten slag and died of his injuries in hospital. The court heard that the present owners of the site, Tata Steel, have taken steps to prevent a repeat of the accident.

Swansea Crown Court heard there had been concerns about leaving troughs uncovered and excess steam in the period prior to Mr Downey's accident.

He had earlier been called a hero by colleagues for his actions, after an explosion at the plant in 2001 killed three workers. Mr Downey was said to have been pivotal in shutting the furnace down after the explosion and making the area safe.

The court was told that before the 2006 incident, an internal presentation by Corus had referred to open troughs as "potential killers".

A jury recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest into Mr Downey's death in September last year.

The inquest heard the liquid metal slag often reached temperatures of 1,400 degrees centigrade.

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