23 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The collapse of scaffolding in a power plant boiler on 28 September 2003 that resulted in the deaths of five men was possibly caused by the design and construction of the scaffolding, the public prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.
Consequently, the Breda prosecution office (OM) said it will launch a preliminary court investigation into the actions of nine people and two companies. The nine individuals work for the companies implicated in the upcoming inquest.
Once the inquest is completed in several months time, the prosecution will then decide whether it will launch criminal proceedings, news agency ANP reported.
The scaffolding collapsed as eight maintenance workers were cleaning the inside of the boiler at in the southern town of Geertruidenberg. Three men were pulled from the wreckage alive, but five others were killed.
The deceased victims were two US nationals and three Rotterdam residents of Turkish descent. Two Americans and a man of Turkish descent survived.
Besides the scaffolding itself, the prosecution has also investigated the contracts between the companies involved in the overhaul of the boiler, their responsibilities and qualifications. The grit used to sandblast the boiler clean was also examined.
Police and the Labour Inspectorate conducted the inquiry, which took testimony from witnesses, experts, victims and suspects and involved the examination of the 180 tons of scaffolding material.
The Institute for Safety and Crisis Management (COT) reported in April that authorities reacted appropriately after the scaffolding collapsed. Despite this, it said the prosecution could have communicated better with victims’ relatives.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news