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Safety watchdog slams SSE over potential for ‘jet fire’ at gas facility

The Atwick gas storage facility
The Atwick gas storage facility

SSE has been condemned by the safety watchdog over the potential for a “jet fire” to occur at a gas storage facility.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlighted the risk during an inspection of the Atwick facility in February, which could “fatally injure” three people and hurt several others.

Inspectors said SSE’s “human reliability assessments” are not sufficient to prevent such an incident – where it relies on workers’ performance to control or prevent major accidents.

HSE also said the current alarm system causes alarm flooding, where too many are sounding at once meaning some could be accidently missed.

SSE was handed improvement notices over both issues with a compliance date of September 22.

Atwick, also known as the Hornsea facility on the Yorkshire coast, is the oldest of its kind in the UK.

An SSE spokeswoman said: “SSE Gas Storage works closely with HSE and is fully committed to managing and reducing our Major Accident Hazard risks and the Human Factors element of this hazard scenario is one of multiple controls and mitigations in place in order to ensure the safety of our people and facility.

“Safety is SSE’s number one priority and we recognise the opportunity to improve to ensure we reduce our risks to As Low As Reasonably Practicable and we will address these requirements as a priority. We will also ensure that the equivalent requirements are addressed at our Aldbrough gas storage site to ensure that good practices are applied across both sites.”

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Craigmill, Pitcaple, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom, AB51 5HP
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