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Home BUSINESSTrial of death in Talvivaara plant begins
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Thu, 21 May, 2015 12:03:10 AM
FTimes – STT Report, May 21
 
Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.
The case of a death in the Talvivaara mining plant about three years ago has begun in the Kainuu district court. 
 
Three managers of the metal recovery plant are accused of occupational safety negligence and manslaughter.
 
The prosecutor is seeking fines against the managers. All three deny the charges.
 
In addition, the prosecutor demands 60,000 euros from the Talvivaara Sotkamo Company’s bankruptcy estate.
 
The male worker died of hydrogen sulphide poisoning in March 2012. He had no appropriate protective gear.
 
According to the prosecution, the managers failed to fulfil their obligations to ensure the safety and health of the workers as well as enforce safety practices. 
 
High concentrations of hydrogen sulphide were discovered in the factory early in 2012 for reasons that are not yet clear. 
 
The obligation of the employer to protect the workers was obvious. Among other things, the use and control of personal protective equipment should have been emphasised in such a way that no individual worker would be in a dangerous area without the appropriate gear.
 
The areas of the metal recovery plant with high concentration of hydrogen sulphide had been roped off with warning signs.
 
According to the prosecutor, these cannot be regarded as sufficient safety practices.
 
Whether the isolation of affected areas was the result of Talvivaara’s own employees or that of outside contractors is unclear. Workers in the factory were unaware of the reasons for the isolated areas, which could have been for anything from water dripping from the ceiling to dangerous concentrations of lethal gases.
 
According to the prosecutor, the circumstances that led to the worker’s death were not the same as those responsible for the high levels of the gas earlier in the year.
 
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