HSE International

BUPA admits care home safety failings after death of woman, 91

A daughter whose 91-year-old mother died after falling from her bed in a Bupa-owned care home wept after she saw the firm prosecuted for breaking health and safety law.

Dementia patient Josephine Millard was found dead next to her bed at the Beacon Edge home in Penrith.

At the magistrates’ court in Carlisle, a lawyer representing Bupa Care Homes entered guilty pleas to two charges – failing to ensure Mrs Millard’s safety and failing to give its staff adequate safety training.

A crown court judge will further consider the case in April.

The prosecution has come just two years after three staff from the same Penrith home were prosecuted in an unrelated case at Carlisle Crown Court for systematically abusing patients who were in their care.

After seeing the guilty pleas entered in court this week, Mrs Millard’s daughter Kate Lilley spoke of the impact of the tragedy.

 “My mother was a gentle caring person who would not have hurt a fly,” said said a tearful Mrs Lilley.

“She deserved a more peaceful end than the one she had. She had no voice because she was affected by Alzheimer’s and was profoundly deaf.

“We turned to Bupa to give her care and support in her last months. But I have to say that we have been let down. All I ever wanted was to be her voice because she didn’t have one of her own.”

During a brief hearing before a deputy district judge in Carlisle, Eleanor Sanderson, representing Bupa Care Homes Limited, formally entered guilty pleas to the two charges brought by the Health & Safety Executive.

The first charge admitted by Bupa was that the firm failed to provide “care and support for people with dementia type illnesses”, or to ensure “persons not in their employment, namely Mrs Josephine Millard, have not been exposed to risks.”

The second-admitted charge was that Bupa failed to ensure all its staff using beds and bedrails were given adequate health and safety training.

Chris Morris, prosecuting, told the court: “Essentially, this prosecution finds its way to court because of an investigation into the treatment of Mrs Millard, a 91-year-old resident of the defendant’s home.”

Mr Morris said that the prosecution’s case was that the care home exposed Mrs Millard, over a considerable period, to risk, and that Bupa had been guilty of “multiple failings”.

The pensioner’s body was found next to her bed on the morning of September 24, 2013.

The case was so serious, said Mr Morris, that only a crown court judge would have sufficient sentencing powers.

For the company, Mrs Sanderson said the full extent of the prosecution version of what happened was not accepted. When the case goes before the crown court on April 1, Bupa will advance a basis for its guilty pleas.

It will be for a judge to rule on the factual basis of the firm’s guilt.

In 2013, the Beacon Edge came under scrutiny after a new worker there witnessed horrific abuse of elderly residents.

The subsequent police investigation led to the prosecution of three care assistants. William Bowman, 22, of Bowscar, Penrith, admitted eight counts of ill-treating six patients while Chevonne Benson, 23, of Roman Road, Penrith, admitted 10 similar offences against seven victims.

Claire Strong, 21, of Crooklands View, Clifton, near Penrith, admitted three counts of ill-treating three elderly patients by taking and then sharing photos of them in humiliating situations.

Prosecutors said Bowman and Benson systematically ill-treated patients for months, their abuse including assaults, hair pulling, name calling, and various sick pranks.

The cruelty came to light only when Penrith woman Lorna Burns started work at the home – but she resigned almost immediately because she was so sickened by what she saw.

She reported what she had seen to the home’s manager, who immediately alerted the authorities.

A spokeswoman for the home said Bupa staff wanted to offer their condolences to Mrs Millard’s family.

She added: “The case arises from events that took place more than two years ago.

“While we are not able to discuss the detail of the case because it is ongoing, we have co-operated fully with the HSE and safeguarding investigations.

“We have worked very hard over the last two years delivering extra training and making a number of changes to improve the care our residents’ receive.

“This was recognised in the latest Care Quality Commission inspection, which rated the home as good and compliant in all areas. Our residents’ well-being is our top priority and everyone at the home is safe and well.”

The most up-to-date CQC report on Beacon Edge, published after an unannounced visit in February last year, concluded that the safety of services at the home “needs improvement”.

Inspectors concluded that Beacon Edge staff treated residents with “kindness and respect” but pointed out that on some occasions there were not enough workers on duty to meet their needs. Residents were protected from abuse because staff were trained in the protection of vulnerable residents, said inspectors.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1poXK6y

Work cancers and farm safety focus as IOSH Northern Ireland marks 50th anniversary

A body which represents occupational safety and health professionals in Northern Ireland is marking its 50th anniversary by raising awareness of work-related cancers and agricultural safety.

The Northern Ireland Branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) wants its milestone year to help businesses take steps to prevent people being killed, injured or suffering ill health as a result of their work.

Twenty-three workers died in Northern Ireland in 2014/15, including nine people who were employed in the agriculture and five in construction.

Richard McIvor, Chair of IOSH Northern Ireland Branch, said that while inroads have been made over the last five decades to improve workplace safety and health across all industries in Northern Ireland, there remains work to do.

He said: “Our shared objective is a world where work is safe and healthy for every working person, every day.

“We want to empower organisations so they prioritise the safety, health and wellbeing of their workforce. Doing so is not only good for employees, but it is also good for business as it strengthens reputations, resilience and even results.”

50th bannerIOSH is currently raising awareness of the causes of occupational cancer through its No Time to Lose campaign. It tackles five of the most common factors associated with work-related cancer registrations and deaths in the UK – asbestos, diesel engine exhaust fumes, silica dust, solar radiation and shift work.

Silica dust exposure in particular is an ongoing issue for workers in Northern Ireland, said Richard, especially for those working in construction, rail, highways and quarrying.

Richard said: “Around 900 people get lung cancer after breathing in silica dust at work in Britain each year. A further 800 people die annually from lung cancer caused by silica dust exposure in the workplace.

“Research by IOSH and the Construction Dust Partnership has found that there is generally poor awareness among construction workers of the risks that breathing in dust at work can pose to their health. Through No Time to Lose, we are showing employers and employees simple steps to start tackling this issue.”

In the last year IOSH Northern Ireland Branch has collaborated with HSENI and the HSA, BuildHealth NI and the Northern Ireland Safety Group (NISG) to promote workplace safety and health issues. Members have also joined forces with colleagues in IOSH’s Ireland Branch to promote farm safety and health.

As part of its support for HSENI’s Farm Safety Action Plan, the branch is funding demonstrations around the safe use and maintenance of chainsaws and quad bikes at this year’s Balmoral Show in May.

IOSH Northern Ireland will be hosting a 50th anniversary dinner on 15 April at Belfast City Hall which IOSH members, non-members and anyone interested in workplace safety and health are welcome to attend.

For more information about booking a place or sponsorship at the event, visit www.iosh.co.uk/events, email bookings@iosh.co.uk or call the IOSH Bookings team on +44 (0)116 257 3197. The deadline for bookings is 8 April.

Further details about IOSH and its No Time to Lose campaign can be found at www.iosh.co.uk and www.notimetolose.org.uk.

Mosul dam could collapse with ‘very little warning’ and kill hundreds of thousands in its path

A dam that could collapse with “very little warning” would potentially kill hundreds of thousands of people at a single stroke, US officials have warned. 

Serious concerns around the stability of Iraq’s Mosul Dam have been raised, prompting the US to call for a prompt evacuation of the area.

 A statement released by the US Embassy in Baghdad, warns the dam “faces a serious and unprecedented risk of catastrophic failure with little warning”.

The dam, previously known called the Saddam Dam, is located on the Tigris River and is the largest in Iraq.

According to the embassy, there are between 500,000 and 1.5 million Iraqis living in the areas which would be at highest risk should the dam collapse.

It warns they would only survive the flood wave if they evacuated the area.

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The US is said to be working in partnership with the Iraqi government’s ‘early warning and public information efforts’ regarding the structure.

Since the US says it has “no specific information that indicates when a breach might occur” it suggests – out of “an abundance of caution” – the best option is a “prompt evacuation”.

For people in Mosul, Tikrit and Samarra this would mean moving at least 5km from the river banks, although for those on the east side of the river in Samarra are advised to relocate further away, “around 16.5 km”.

The embassy warned large areas of Baghdad could also flood in the event of a dam collapse, potentially including the international airport.

Aside from the immediate mortality threat, a breach could mean as many as 6 million residents would be “adversely affected”.

The embassy cited “dislocation, increased health hazards, limited to no mobility, and losses of homes, buildings, and services” among the possibilities.

It also said the potential flood would destroy power plants, and damage significant areas of irrigated agriculture.

Iraqi officials have played down the threat posed by the dam.

The Wall Street Journalreported Mehdi Rashid, and adviser to the country’s water-resources minister as saying: “The dam has had a problem since 1986. This is not a new subject.

“The safety of the Mosul Dam is on the back of the government. The ministry has been working on it.”

Earlier in the month, Reuters said the water minister himself, Mushin al-Shammari, told al-Sumaria TV: “The looming danger to Mosul dam is one in a thousand. This risk level is present in all the world’s dams.”

Nonetheless, the US welcomed the commitment from Iraq prime minister Haider al-Abadi to finalise plans to address the problem.

Original Source: http://ind.pn/1WUVdvb

HSE to administer Crown Censure to MoD over Brecon Beacons training exercise deaths

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced it will administer a Crown Censure to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over the deaths of three soldiers on a training exercise in the Brecon Beacons in July 2013. 

Reservists Edward Maher, James Dunsby and Craig Roberts fell ill while on a training march. Mr Roberts and Mr Maher died during the exercise, while Mr Dunsby suffered multiple organ failure (as a result of hyperthermia) and died on 30 July 2013.

The HSE investigation found a failure to plan, assess, and manage risks associated with climatic illness during the training. These failings resulted in the deaths of the three men and heat illness suffered by 10 other on the march.

Despite its Crown status, the MoD is not exempt from its responsibilities as an employer to reduce the risks to its employees as far as reasonably practicable. But for Crown immunity, the MoD would have faced prosecution for the failings identified.

HSE head of operations Neil Craig said: “Specialist military units rightly need to test rigorously the fitness and resilience of potential candidates.  Health and safety is not about stopping people from doing dangerous work or being properly prepared for military duties. Military training is inherently hazardous. However, such testing needs to be managed effectively. The MoD has a duty to manage the risks during training exercises. It failed to do so on this occasion.

“Since the incident HSE has worked closely with the MoD to ensure it has learned lessons on how it can reduce the risk of similar tragedies occurring in future without compromising or changing the arduous nature of the essential training and testing they need to provide.”

Original Source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/hse-to-administer-crown-censure-to-mod-over-brecon-beacons-training-exercise-deaths/

Construction company admits health and safety breaches after crane collapse that killed two people

Douglas Genge, managing director of Falcon Crane Hire Limited

A crane hire firm is facing a hefty fine after admitting responsibility for a catastrophic collapse in Battersea that left two people dead.

Michael Alexa, 23, and Jonathan Cloke, 37, were both killed when an overloaded 165ft crane crashed the ground in Battersea, south London, in September 2006.

Mr Cloke, the crane operator, died at the controls of the machine, while Mr Alexa, a bus driver, was changing a wheel on his car when he was crushed to death by the falling structure.

The families of both men were forced to wait nearly six years for an inquest, and have endured ten years hoping those responsible would be brought to justice.

Today at Southwark Crown Court, Falcon Crane Hire Limited admitted two health and safety breaches that led to the disaster, in a deal that saw charges dropped against its managing director Douglas Genge, 71.

The structure, being used on a Barratt Homes development on the site of a former school in Thessaly Road, Battersea, had been badly overloaded with twelves tonnes of counterweights instead of eight.

The inquest heard the mistake was made by Falcon Crane Hire Limited, because it had used the wrong instruction manual when erecting the crane.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Brent Bolton told Westminster Coroners’ Court the extra weight would have increased the tension on a crucial set of bolts by “100-plus per cent”.

The company had also failed to investigate why four bolts on the crane had failed two months earlier.

The company pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, on what would have been the first day of the trial, and two charges against Genge, from Norfolk, were dropped.

“The prosecution and the defence have been in discussions and the outcome of which is the company have agreed to plead guilty on the condition that the prosecution brings to an end proceedings against Mr Genge, the managing director”, said prosecutor Deanna Heer.

Judge Alistair McCreath adjourned sentencing until March 15, and agreed for the prosecution to offer no evidence against Mr Genge.

Relatives of both men were in court this morning to hear the guilty pleas.

After the crash, the body of Mr Alexa, a bus driver from Brixton, south London with an 18-month-old son, could not be recovered for three days as authorities struggled to move the stricken crane.

His mother Liliana told the inquest: “Losing Michael is like being incarcerated and chained. No parent should ever experience that.”

Mr Cloke, from Guildford, had celebrated the christening of his son two days before he died, and his father John said: “Of greatest importance to Jonathan was his family.

“He really did care about us all.

“He was utterly devoted to his wife and his son.

“Words like devastated cannot describe the effect his death has had on us.”

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Michael Alexa died while fixing his car next to site where the crane collapsed

When the inquest could finally take place in March 2012, the jury found: “Both men died as a result of a crane collapse due to failure of the inner slew ring bolts due to overloading of the counterweight.”

The Crown Prosecution Service initially said no one would be prosecuted over the deaths, but reversed its position when the inquest jury blamed the crane company for the collapse.

Original Source: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/firm-faces-hefty-fine-after-admitting-responsibility-for-killer-crane-collapse-a3191766.html

Russian mine disaster toll climbs to 36

Moscow (AFP) – The death toll in Russia’s worst mining disaster in years climbed to 36 on Sunday as officials said 26 workers missing following methane explosions at the pit in the country’s frozen Arctic north could not have survived.

 Two blasts ripped through the Severnaya coal mine on Thursday at a depth of 748 metres (2,450 feet), killing four miners and trapping 26 others.

Six more people were killed on Sunday as a fresh explosion hit the mine in the city of Vorkuta in the Komi region, once home to one of the most feared Soviet-era Gulag labour camps.

“According to the expert technical council, 26 (missing) people who were in the mine had no chances of surviving,” Tatyana Bushkova, a spokeswoman for the mine’s operator Vorkutaugol, told AFP on Sunday.

“The rescue operation has been halted,” she added in an emailed statement.

Anton Kovalishin, a spokesman for the emergencies ministry in the Komi region, told AFP a new explosion in the early hours of Sunday killed five rescue workers and a miner.

“This is a difficult emergency situation, a difficult catastrophe for Russia, for our mining industry,” said Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who is heading a special commission established to deal with the tragedy.

He said the families of the victims would each receive one million rubles ($13,000) in compensation.

Russia mine accident

Vorkutaugol is operated by Severstal, the Russian steelmaker controlled by billionaire Alexey Mordashov.

The company was considering whether to flood the mine but now apparently decided to pump it with nitrogen to stop the fire burning at the pit, said Bushkova.

“The chairman of Severstal’s board of directors Alexei Mordashov said that he expects the Severnaya mine to continue its work after the consequences of the disaster have been liquidated,” she said.

“This is the company’s largest mine that produces about a fourth of Vorkutaugol’s output.”

– ‘Risk of new explosions’ –

Authorities launched a massive search operation involving hundreds of rescue workers who had been trying to track down the missing despite almost zero visibility, smoke, gas-polluted air and rubble.

Both the company and the authorities had until now refused to declare the missing dead even though rescuers had apparently failed to make contact with them over the past few days.

But the latest explosion forced officials to admit that no one could have survived.

“Unfortunately, we are forced to acknowledge that all the conditions at that section of the mine would not allow a person to survive,” Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said in comments broadcast by LifeNews television channel.

Seventy-seven people were in the mine during the rescue operation when the new explosion hit on Sunday, the emergencies ministry said.

Of these, 71 were rescued and brought to the surface. Eleven of them were injured.

“According to experts, there is a high risk of new explosions,” the ministry said.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday have been declared days of mourning in the region.

“We are unable to bring people from the dead but we will do everything to support their families at this difficult hour,” acting head of the Komi region, Sergei Gaplikov, told families of the victims, in remarks released by his office.

Earlier this week President Vladimir Putin tasked the government with setting up a special panel to look into the accident.

The Investigative Committee has opened a criminal probe into the violation of safety rules and dispatched investigators and forensic experts to the scene.

Mine accidents are fairly common in Russia and other former Soviet countries, where much of the infrastructure has not been modernised since the Communist era.

The explosions at the Severnaya mine took place despite the fact that the company has over the past years invested heavily in safety, Vorkutaugol said.

“We are constantly spending lots of money — and we will spend it in the future — to perfect the technical systems that ensure safety and prevent violations,” Mordashov was quoted as saying.

In 2010, 91 people — both miners and rescuers — died after a methane explosion at the Raspadskaya mine in the Siberian region of Kemerovo.

In 2007, 110 people died at the Ulyanovskaya mine, in the same region, the country’s worst mining accident since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Original Source: http://news.yahoo.com/six-people-die-explosion-russias-arctic-mine-official-081630558.html

Russian Coal Mine Accident in Vorkuta Kills 36 Including 5 Rescuers

This photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry shows rescuers from Kemerovo region arriving for help in Vorkuta, Russia on Saturday

A total of 36 people were killed at a coal mine in Russia’s far north where a methane gas leak triggered three explosions that resulted in a raging fire and the collapse of the mine, officials said Sunday.

 

The dead include five rescue workers and a miner who were killed early Sunday when the third explosion rocked the mine in Vorkuta, a town north of the Arctic Circle in the Komi region, the emergency services said.

The first two explosions struck late Thursday, killing four miners and trapping 26 others. Denis Paikin, technical director of mine operator Vorkutaugol, said Sunday that given the level of gas in the mine, the degree of destruction and the trajectory of the fire, which continued to rage, all of the missing miners were presumed dead.

At the time of the blast, 110 miners were underground and 80 were rescued.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who visited the mine on Sunday, said federal investigators had drawn preliminary conclusions about the cause of the accident but were not yet ready to release their findings, Russian news agencies reported.

 

Original Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russian-coal-mine-accident-vorkuta-kills-36-including-5-rescuers-n527461

Aldi hit with £100,000 fine after smoking shelter blows onto worker at Darlington depot

A global supermarket chain has been fined £100,000 for a health and safety violation which resulted in a flying smoking shelter trapping a Darlington employee.

Grocery giants Aldi and Darlington contractors Wilkinson Maintenance appeared in Teesside Crown Court yesterday in relation to the incident outside Aldi’s Faverdale distribution centre.

Prosecuting lawyer Ros Scott Bell, appearing on behalf of Darlington Borough Council, said the incident could have seen the employee seriously injured or, at worst, killed.

 She said: “On the afternoon of 21 October, 2014, Michael Simpson was taking a cigarette break outside Aldi’s distribution centre.

“It was a windy day and a gust of wind picked up an unsecured smoking shelter and deposited it among those seated at the table.

“It struck Mr Simpson on the back, pinning him for a few seconds, and he could not breathe.”

Mr Simpson, 35, received soft-tissue injuries to his back and both arms and still had nightmares about the incident more than a year later.

Wilkinson Maintenance had moved the metal and perspex smoking shelter to install an emergency exit at the Aldi site.

The shelter was left unsecured, Aldi believing Wilkinson would take care of it, while Wilkinson believed it was Aldi’s responsibility.

Both pleaded guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Aldi’s lawyer Richard Matthews, QC, asked the court to consider the company’s otherwise unblemished health and safety record as a mitigating factor.

He said: “I stress that it is a remarkable achievement to employ 27,000 and to have no previous convictions.

“Following the breach they conducted a swift investigation and every maintenance manager has been given training in relation to it.”

Wilkinson’s lawyer, Matthew Kerruish-Jones, said the company would like to publicly apologise to Mr Simpson.

He said: “As far as mitigation is concerned, there were no aggravating factors and there has been a high level of cooperation between us and the prosecution.”

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, said the “impeccable character” of both defendants would be considered when setting fines.

He fined Aldi £100,000, fined Wilkinson Maintenance £20,000, and ordered both to pay £5,000 in costs.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1TAvh8I

Death of 19-year-old farm worker ‘entirely avoidable’, say safety experts

The death of a 19-year-old farm worker while trying to clear a blockage in a 40ft high grain bin was entirely avoidable, according to safety experts.

Zach Dean Fox suffocated as he became trapped in six tonnes of oil seed rape in the metal container at Deanfoot Farm in Hawick on August 1, 2014.

James Manners, a partner in Seamore Farming, desperately tried to save the teenager, but could not prevent his head disappearing under the grain.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found the system of work in place to clear blockages in the grain bin was inherently and obviously unsafe.

At Jedburgh Sheriff Court Seamore Farming, was fined £45,000 after pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

After sentencing HSE inspector Allison Aitken said: “This was an entirely avoidable tragedy which resulted in the death of a young man.

“The dangers associated with working within the confined space of grain silos and clearing blockages in grain silos are well known within the farming industry and well documented in HSE guidance.

“Farmers should ensure that they have a safe system of work in place for clearing blockages in grain silos which avoids the need for anyone to enter inside them.

“This can be easily achieved, where necessary, by making some minor modifications to working practices to enable the task to be completed safely from outside the grain silo”.

‘No signs of life’ as Didcot power station search continues following explosion

Authorities said there was no ‘signs of life’ detected overnight (Picture: Reuters)

Emergency crews searching for three missing people after part of a power station collapsed said they ‘haven’t picked up any clear signs of life’ overnight.

One person was killed and five others are in hospital after a concrete and steel building at the derelict Didcot A site in south Oxfordshire came down at around 4pm yesterday while it was being prepared for demolition.

A further 50 people were treated for dust inhalation as emergency crews with sniffer dogs worked into the night searching for the missing.

The operation could take ‘several days’, authorities warned.

Witness David Cooke, whose company, Thames Cryogenics, has a building overlooking the power station, said: ‘Our building shook and as we looked out of the window. The end of the main turbine hall collapsed in a huge pile of dust.

'No signs of life' as Didcot power station search continues following explosion

The scene at Didcot Power Station, Oxfordshire (Picture: PA)

The scene at Didcot Power Station, Oxfordshire, after one person died and a major search operation was under way for three others after a building collapsed at the power station. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 24, 2016. Five people are being treated in hospital after the concrete and steel structure at the derelict Didcot A site in south Oxfordshire came down while it was being prepared for demolition. See PA story POLICE Didcot. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

One person died and a major search operation was under way for three others after a building collapsed at the power station (Picture: PA)

‘It totally obscured the towers and must have drifted across the roads and main rail line. What’s left looks a tangled mess. The dust was hanging over the area for five to 10 minutes.’

Oxfordshire Assistant Chief Fire Officer Simon Furlong said: ‘It is still a rescue operation at the moment. We have three dog teams on site working overnight, but we haven’t picked up any clear signs of life.

‘We are continuing to search and locate the missing persons and we are working hard with the other agencies.’

Mr Furlong said the operation was being hampered because of safety concerns. He said: ‘This is a very difficult situation with a very unstable structure. The safety of emergency service personnel has to remain our priority, while recognising how hard this must be for families waiting for news of loved ones overnight. Our sympathies are with them, and the family of the person who died here yesterday.

Emergency services are present at Didcot power station this evening (Tuesday) after part of the power station collapsed, killing one person. February 23 2016.

Emergency services worked through the night to search for those missing following the explosion (Picture: SWNS)

‘An expert from Cheshire with similar experience is due on site today to advise on the search. The police will be taking over control of the site as part of ongoing investigation but we are continuing working with fire services from Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and the West Midlands, and this work may continue for several days.’

A 100m cordon has been placed around the scene as the rescue operation continues.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis added: ‘The building is potentially 10 storeys high; half of that building has collapsed, so you have got a rubble pile which is approximately 20 to 30 feet deep at the moment.

Asked about the chances of finding those missing alive, he replied: ‘At the moment I can’t give you any details on that but it is a substantial collapse of a building.’

Footage from the scene showed a significant chunk of a building in the defunct Didcot A site has collapsed, with a large amount of debris on the ground.

epa05177398 Part of the damaged building is visible at Didcot Power Station, Didcot, Oxfordshire, Britain, 23 February 2016. At least one person died after a building collapsed, following a possible explosion at the power station in southern Britain on 23 February, police and local media said. EPA/HANNAH MCKAY

Part of the damaged building is visible at Didcot Power Station (Picture: EPA)

Nearby residents have been asked to consider whether they require emergency hospital care after a major incident was declared. Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust advised: ‘We are grateful to members of the public for avoiding attending our Emergency Department for anything other than serious or life-threatening emergencies.’

MP for Didcot, Conservative Ed Vaizey thanked emergency services for their efforts.

Didcot A opened in 1970 as a coal-fired power station and was later converted so it could also generate power from natural gas. It ceased generation in March 2013 and hundreds gathered to watch when three of its enormous cooling towers were blown up in July 2014 after dominating the town’s skyline for more than four decades.

The incident comes 16 months after a major fire struck a cooling tower at Didcot B in October 2014. The blaze affected 50% of the station output – supplying a million homes.

Taken with permission from the Twitter account of smoke rising from Didcot power station in Oxfordshire where a major incident has been declared and a fatality reported after a building collapse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 23, 2016. See PA story POLICE Didcot. Photo credit should read: Blaine Morris-Smith/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

A witness photo of Didcot power station during the blast (Picture: PA)

Original Source: http://metro.co.uk/2016/02/24/no-signs-of-life-as-didcot-power-station-search-continues-following-explosion-5714530/#ixzz4159UVlC0