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Owners of Boulby Potash mine in East Cleveland where a worker has died say they are shocked by the incident and that it looks like an 'unprecedented event.'
56-year-old John Anderson, from Easington, died following a gas blow, a sudden and powerful release of gas which displaced a significant amount of mineral.
Owners ICL say there will be a full and detailed investigation into the incident and that they are already fully cooperating with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Mines who are now currently at the site.
Simon Hunter, Safety Manager, said:
Naturally everyone involved with Boulby is affected by this tragic incident. First and foremost our thoughts are with John’s family and friends and we will be doing everything we can to help and support them through this very difficult time
The investigations into the incident have already begun but they are at a very early stage.
We will be co-operating fully with the Mines Inspectorate in order that we can discover exactly what happened.
What we do know at this stage there was what we describe as a ‘gas blow’. A gas blow is a sudden release of a small amount of gas at exceedingly high pressure which also displaces mineral. These events are not uncommon and we have procedures in place to ensure safe working, there is no suggestion to say that these procedures were not being followed.
At this early stage of the investigation it would appear that this particular event was unprecedented.
Mining has its risks, however safety is always our first priority. We have begun an investigation and it is important that this is allowed to run its course."
Unite the union has called for prompt investigation into the death of one of their members at Boulby potash mine in Middlesbrough.
Unite regional officer Tim Bush said:
Unite offers its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the member who died in this tragic incident. Our thoughts are with them, as well as his colleagues and the wider community at this difficult time.
The circumstances of the accident are now being investigated by the Mines Inspectorate. It is not appropriate to speculate until a full investigation has been carried out.
Unite will be offering its support and legal assistance to the family at this sad time.”
The Health and Safety Executive has sent inspectors to Boulby Potash Mine after a worker in an incident early this morning.
We have three [four by this PM] inspectors on site at the potash mine, who are specialists in mining and mechanical engineering. They will work with police to investigate the circumstances of the incident when a worker sadly died [this morning – if released today] underground.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and work colleagues, some of whom were also injured in the incident.”
The executive have also confirmed that they're continuing to investigate the circumstances of two others incidents at the mine.
- A fire earlier this year, which left men trapped underground
- An earlier incident (year tbc) when a machine driver broke a leg
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has told ITV news of his alarm over the death of a worker at the Boulby Potash Mine in East Cleveland.
He said "people have the right to go to work and come home safe" and that he will work to make sure more fatalities don't happen in industry.
I hope if anything that is found, it is acted upon so that we don't have any more loss of life. Because at the end of the day people have the right to go to work and come home safe.
But I will take my lead from the Mines Inspectorate, we need to allow them to investigate this case fully"
The tragedy comes two months after a fire deep underground at the mine resulted in seven workers being taken to hospital.
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has spoken of his alarm over the death of a worker at the Boulby Potash Mine in East Cleveland.
The tragedy comes just two months after a fire deep underground at the mine resulted in seven workers being taken to hospital.
None of them were seriously hurt.
"The miner who died in the explosion was one of my constituents who lived in East Cleveland. My immediate thoughts - and I have no doubt the thoughts of the entire local community - are with his family and friends. We cannot allow this death to go unmarked. Over the last decade and a half, the mine has been a safe working environment, certainly compared to years past where accidents were more frequent.
However, In the space of just a few months we have seen two tragic incidents. I am concerned that this must not become a pattern. Mines legislation requires a full investigation, and I need to be reassured that this will indeed happen. I would also want to be reassured that recent redundancies at the mine have not altered day to day working practices to the extent that risk may have been allowed to creep back in. In the near future I will want to meet with both the mine owners, ICL Ltd, and the mine unions on these issues."
ICL UK, the owner of the potash mine in Boulby, East Cleveland, has confirmed the identity of a worker who died underground this morning.
He was John Anderson, who was 56 years old.
He died after a gas blow-out, which is described as being "a sudden and powerful release of gas."
More details to follow.
Following the fatal incident at the ICL UK Boulby mine earlier today investigations have begun with senior mine management, together with the police and Her Majesty’s Mines Inspectorate going underground to examine the scene.
1/2 We can confirm we were called at around 5.20am to an incident at Boulby Potash during which a man has died. Police remain at the scene
2/2 Our thoughts are with family, friends and colleagues. We are working to understand the circumstances surrounding the incident.