Total Cleared Over Toulouse Explosion

photo : Lepost.fr

The French oil giant Total has been cleared of responsibility for the explosion at the AZF fertiliser plant in Toulouse. The blast occurred in 2001 and killed 31 people and injured very many more. The explosion was so violent it broke windows in the Toulouse town center several miles away and caused severe damage to neighbouring buildings.

Since the accident, Total has paid out almost €2 billion in compensation to more than 20,000 victims

At a court hearing in Toulouse last week, the judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that negligence by the Total subsidiary Grande Paroisse had caused the blast. As a result, charges against Grande Paroisse and its Site Director have been dropped. French prosecutors have since said that they would appeal against this court ruling

The initial investigation, completed in 2006, concluded that an unusually large quantity of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse was responsible for the blast, and accused plant managers of negligence.

Without the full detail of the investigation, it is impossible to comment on the detail of this case. What is clear, though, is that lives have been devastated, the incident has cost Total a huge amount of time and money and reputations have been damaged.

There is absolutely no doubt that incidents such as this one are avoidable. Excellence in all matters health and safety is fully consistent with excellence in business. A strong corporate HSE culture is required, together with effective manufacturing management.

No comments:

Post a Comment