Celsa admits health and safety breach over deaths of two steelworkers killed in blast

A steel company has admitted failing to have a suitable risk assessment in place prior to the deaths of two workers killed in an explosion.

Celsa Manufacturing UK Limited entered their plea on the day their trial was due to start at Cardiff Crown Court.

The company admitting failing to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks contrary to Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Father-of-six Peter O’Brien, 51, from Llanishen, Cardiff, and father-of-two Mark Sim, 41, from Caldicot, Monmouthshire, died in the blast on 18 November 2015.

Another man was seriously injured.

Celsa turns scrap metal into steel used to reinforce concrete at its Cardiff site.

The court heard how the men were working in the basement of the steelworks where a large container of oil used to lubricate hot steel rollers was kept.

The judge explained that the most probable cause of the explosion was the failure of an electrical contactor, which stopped the oil from getting too hot.

Instead of remaining in a fail-safe position, the heater stayed on. But the engineers operating the equipment would not have known this because the alarm light showed the heater was off.

“There was no way other than by taking the equipment apart to establish the contactor was off”, Judge Bidder explained.

The explosion happened in November 2015 Credit: PA

Judge Bidder told the court that had Celsa done a risk assessment, “this accident would not have occurred.”

The families of Peter O’Brien and Mark Sim were in court to hear their loved ones’ former employer enter a guilty plea.

Judge Bidder offered his “very sincere condolences to the families of the deceased men and sympathies with the man who was injured.”

“Nothing I can say will make things better frankly, but I hope you feel you’ve been kept fully in the loop”, he told them.

Celsa will be sentenced on 4 October.

Judge Bidder said depending on what category the offence fitted in, they can expect a fine of between £130,000 and £1.5m.