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Buncefield - ten years on

The BBC has reflected on the Buncefield explosion ten years on. Are there still lessons to be learned?

The BBC has reflected on the explosion at the Buncefield site in Hertfordshire ten years on from December 2005. It has been identified as the biggest explosion in the UK since World War Two and affected many homes and families in the local area. The time of the explosion (6.00am on a Sunday) is thought to be the only reason why there were no fatalities. Had it occurred a few hours later, several thousand people would have been making their way onto the site for work. The report included the fire fighters involved in responding to the incident and the scale of operation to get the fire under control. It took 53 million litres of water and 180 fire fighters to extinguish the 250,000 litres of petrol.

Those living nearby were also contacted for the report which highlighted the length of time it took to receive compensation and the emotional consequences that have been felt by those affected. This was exacerbated by the lengthy legal process, which for some only concluded three years ago. Many were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and were forced to relive events when trying to claim compensation from the companies involved.

This Buncefield case highlights the human need for adequate health and safety within a workplace. Employers must make sure that they have proper systems in place to ensure the health and safety of workers as well as anyone else affected by their operations.

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