AWE, the company which manages the Ministry of Defence atomic bomb factory in Aldermaston, has issued an apology after breaching a number of health and safety laws and failing to prevent a worker being injured.
There was a fire at the West Berkshire plant in August 2010, at a building used to make explosives. A large number of firefighters, from four brigades in total, were called to the scene but they were not informed that explosives were in the building.
The fire, which is believed to have been started by a chemical reaction or a static spark from the manufacture of explosives, causes a worker to sustain burns to his face and arm.
Following the incident, AWE bosses faced charges including failure to provide employees with adequate protective clothing and health and safety training, as well as failure to recognise the risks of materials and processes used during manufacturing. Safety practices were ignored and the company failed to ensure the safety of its employees.
In a statement following the hearing, AWE’s Dr Graeme Nicholson apologised for what happened, saying:
“AWE always takes its health and safety responsibilities extremely seriously and accept on 3 August 2010 we did not meet our usually high standards. We regret the occurrence of the fire and we are sorry a member of our staff was injured and for the disruption caused to local residents.”