In the wake of a spate of accidents at a leading chemical manufacturer, German authorities are reviewing safety procedures in the industry.
FOLLOWING a series of accidents at Hoechst AG, one of Germany's three major chemical manufacturers, stricter controls and guidelines are expected to be imposed on them.
German federal minister for environment Klaus Topfer is determined to intensify pressure on the industry to adopt improved safety standards and in Hesse, the state environment ministry has begun inspecting about 100 chemical plants to pinpoint safety deficiencies. The neighbouring state of Lower Saxony also is to conduct a similar study.
Hesse's federation of chemical industries has agreed to implement a 10-point programme drawn up by state environment minister Joschka Fischer, which includes thorough inspection of facilities, tighter security standards, emergency action plans.
Meanwhile, Topfer says Hoechst will come under "intensive" state control, following a series of mishaps. In the first accident, on February 22 at the company's plant in Griesheim near Frankfurt, 10 tonnes of chemicals, two of which were "potentially carcinogenic", spewed into the air. About three weeks later, one person was killed in an explosion at the company's main plant, also near Frankfurt, on March 15.
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