27 Sep 2008

Charges laid after fatal coolstore explosion

8:51 pm on 27 September 2008

The Department of Labour has laid charges against several parties in relation to a fatal explosion at Icepak Coolstores in Tamahere, near Hamilton.

The charges were laid in Hamilton District Court on Friday under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, which covers the prevention of harm to people at work or near a work place.

Names of the parties and details of the charges are not being made public until the first court appearance, as the parties may seek name suppression, the department says.

No date has been set for the first hearing, but it is likely to be in about six weeks' time.

Firefighter Derek Lovell died as a result of the explosion and seven others were seriously injured on 5 April.

The department says the investigation report into the explosion and fire cannot be released until after the court proceedings and a Coroner's inquest.

Icepak says it has no comment to make on the charges.

EECA says propane gas trial unconnected

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) says it is comfortable about a grant it gave Icepack to trial propane gas at its refrigeration plant at Waharoa in Waikato.

It says the trial was not connected to Icepak's Tamahere plant, which was destroyed in an explosion and fire in April.

Icepak received just over $50,000 in 2006 to trial the propane. Under the agreement, other plants using the chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant freon were to be used as a benchmark to test propane's capabilities.

EECA says the fact it did not initially know Icepak was already using propane at Tamahere made no difference to the trial because Tamahere was not part of it.