Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gas Bored

This report in today's Grauniad about planned developments at The Oval is rather alarming.

In particular this bit: -

An HSE spokesman said: "The development would increase the population close to the gas holder and increase the sources of ignition and the number of people at risk. Where we can we like to see free space around gas holders. We are against the development as proposed."
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have got a bit of a bad reputation as 'interfering busybodies' - mainly because employers and their friends in the Tory Party have continually whined about 'Health 'n' Safety' (making that irritating 'inverted commas' movement with two fingers on either hand) and the amount of 'Red tape' they have to deal with. 'Red Tape' for the HSE will often equate to things like having to check for asbestos in the workplace, and that there are adequate fire escape procedures in place...

However, a recent TUC report suggested that places of work that have recently had an HSE inspection, and where all recommendations have been carried out are 75% less likely to have an employee harmed in the workplace whilst going about their day to day work. The number of builders killed or harmed on sites around the country is scandalous, as is the number harmed through breathing poisonous fumes. One person's 'irritating red tape' is anothers 'life threatening lung disease'.

((Climbs down from soapbox))

So, if the HSE say that they aren't happy with the design of the proposed development, shouldn't the planners and Lambeth Council take their comments into account - rather than going to a third party? Also, why weren't the HSE consulted when the OCS Stand was approved?

We're talking about the potential for a Buncefield style gas explosion here. (That's the comparison Construction News made) It would seem that the current risk level is acceptable, but putting 5000 people in such close proximity to the gasometers, may well be going a step too far.

I for one, will start thinking about sitting in the Stuart Surridge Stand rather than the Peter May from now on!


Tony said...

Better not light any Test matches.

Boom. Tish.


King Cricket said...

This would really piss me off even if it wasn't cricket-related. Does every last inch of space in the UK have to have something crammed into it?

I blame Matthew Hayden. No specific reason. It's just always good to have someone to blame and for that someone to always be Matthew Hayden.