Maptaput factory under fire for covering up fatal explosion

Friday, 09 August 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 32 By  Patcharapol Panrak

Executives at a Maptaput tin factory are under fire for allegedly covering up a fatal explosion for more than a week.

Maptaput Industrial Estate Director Pratheep Engchuan accused Siam Tin Plate Co. of failing to report the July 20 chemical-tank explosion that killed 48-year-old contractor Pranai Inphanao in order to protect the company’s reputation. Pratheep said he learned of the incident from police July 28.

Pranai died at Bangkok Hospital Rayong July 20 after a tank containing recycled sodium hydroxide exploded in the factory’s chromium-dipping facility. The explosion caused the tank’s lid to fall on the victim. Officials suspect the explosion occurred after the compound reacted with hydrogen gas released during steel-coil cleaning.

Maptaput Industrial Estate Director Pratheep Engchuan says that Siam Tin Plate Co. failed to report a July 20 chemical-tank explosion that killed a 48-year-old contractor.Maptaput Industrial Estate Director Pratheep Engchuan says that Siam Tin Plate Co. failed to report a July 20 chemical-tank explosion that killed a 48-year-old contractor.

Pratheep said Maptaput Security Information Center regulations required Siam Tin to report the accident within 10 minutes. The requirement is in place to prevent industrial accidents from spreading and causing panic.

The security office has now shut down Siam Tin’s chromium-dipping operation until the cause of the accident can be determined and the company’s safety measures examined. The company was given seven days to report its findings and have safety procedures certified by outside experts.

Pratheep also said that because of the company’s willful defiance of industrial estate safety rules, it will not be allowed to fly the flag with white and green stars which certifies a plant that has passed a safety inspection and cooperates with authorities.

Maptaput Police Superintendent Col. Saeree Sathkorn said officers have expedited an investigation of the event and criminal recklessness charges are expected.

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