2014: Disrespect for Labor Safety Claimed 15 Lives at Bulgaria's Gorni Lom Plant
On October 1 a deadly blast in the Midzhur ammunition factory in the village of Gorni Lom, north eastern Bulgaria, killed 15 workers – 13 men and two women.
On the day of the incident the workers were disarming land mines from Greece, as part of a several million euro contract.
The explosion, most likely caused by a human error, practically razed the factory to the ground leaving around 40 surviving workers unemployed.
A probe into the incident found that the workplace safety regulations in the factory were repeatedly violated and its license had been revoked twice, but had been restored after court appeals.
The then Labour Minister Yordan Hristoskov told the media that the management was criminally reckless and ignored the instructions of the Labour Inspectorate and the Hazardous Devices Control (KOS) agency.
“The employer did not do his job, in spite the administrative and penalty measures,” Hristoskov said. “He appealed in court the orders and penalties and they were often overruled by court, which means that he was certain he can carry on as usual.”
Hristoskov said he would do everything within his power to make sure that those who are guilty of the tragedy will get their punishment.
The investigation of the incident continues, but no charges have been pressed yet.
The incident in the Midzhur factory was the deadliest explosion in an ammunition factory in Bulgaria for the year, but not the only one. There were two other, both in the town of Maglizh – in February and in December, killing one worker each. A fourth blast, in a weapons factory in Kostenets in August injured 11 workers and shattered the windows of many houses in the town.
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