December 6, 2020
From Alternative Bristol (UK)

On the 3rd of Dec we found out the tragic news that four people had been killed in an explosion at a water treatment works plan in Avonmouth, near Bristol. These are workers doing an essential job of keeping key services (water and waste) running for us, services we tend not to even think about until something goes wrong.

This was tragic enough, and then we discovered that one of the victims was only 16. Any death is awful, but we feel an extra bit of sorrow for a young person cut from life just as they are starting out. Unite the union issued a statement soon after;

Unite regional secretary for the south west Steve Preddy said: “We can confirm that Unite has three members working at Wessex Water Services Ltd in Avonmouth. “We have contacted them this afternoon and they are, thankfully, uninjured, although in a state of shock. Unite will be giving our members maximum support in the days and weeks ahead. Unite the union would wish to extend its deepest sympathy to the families of those employees who have lost their lives and as well as those injured in the explosion – our thoughts and solidarity are with all those affected by this tragic event.

The Bristolian published a very troubling story, if correct;

A worker that delivers to the treatment tanks at the Wessex Water plant in Avonmouth, one of which blew up today, has told The BRISTOLIAN, “Wessex Water workers there have been complaining for ages that the tanks were in disrepair but the company would not shut down the process. It will have been a methane gas explosion.”

The Bristol Cable reported that there is an investigation underway;

The police said there would be a “thorough investigation” into what happened, including by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Wessex Water Chief Executive Colin Skellett said the company was working with the HSE to understand what happened and why.

We await further developments and our thoughts go out to the impacted families of the workers.