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March 24th

Nearly 50 Dead in Explosion at Chinese Chemical Plant

At least 47 people have died in an explosion at a plant in Yancheng, China Thursday run by a chemical company with a history of environmental violations, Sky News reported.

The blast forced more than 3,000 people to evacuate the area, AFP reported. More than 600 are injured and 90 are in the hospital with serious injuries following one of the country's worst industrial disasters in recent years. The blast from the explosion was so strong that it caused a minor earthquake and felled nearby factory buildings, trapping workers. It also blew out windows in houses around three miles away, according to Sky.

A 60-year-old woman with the last name Xiang told AFP that she had long been worried about the safety of the plant.

"We knew we'd be blown up one day," she said.

The blast caused fires to ignite in the industrial park where the plant was located, but firefighters said they had extinguished the flames by Friday. Hundreds of rescue workers had been sent to the area, according to local authorities.

However, residents in the surrounding area, many of them elderly, said they had not received any help from the government. Some had abandoned their homes and others were sweeping up the glass from broken windows themselves.

The plant where the explosion occurred was run by the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical company, which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, according to Sky. In February of last year, China's State Administration for Work Safety found 13 safety hazards at the company, including improper handling of benzene, the chemical that caused Thursday's explosion. In total, the company had amassed 1,790,000 RMB (approximately $266,440) in fines since 2016 because of environmental violations.

The cause of Thursday's explosion is not yet known. Chinese President Xi Jinping, currently on a state visit to Italy, urged for "all-out efforts" to rescue those still trapped in collapsed buildings and for the cause of the incident be determined "as early as possible," AFP reported in a later article. Local authorities looking into the explosion said an undetermined number of people had been taken into custody on Friday.

Nearby residents are now concerned about the spread of pollution following the accident.

"We don't have drinkable water here," Xiang told AFP. "Why hasn't the government sent us some water?"

However, local environmental agencies said that they had set up monitors around the industrial park where the accident took place, and said that strong winds looked likely to flush out toxins in the air, CNN reported.

China has suffered a spate of industrial and mining disasters in its recent history, partly because of weak safety enforcement, BBC News reported. The largest in the last few years was a 2015 explosion in Tianjin that killed more than 160 and injured almost 1,000.

Jan 31st

Man’s penis snaps in HALF during sex before ‘swelling to size of wine bottle’

Sean Marsden, 48, from Shropshire, was rushed to hospital in an ambulance after suffering a penile fracture and torn urethra

A man heard his penis snap in half during sex before he was rushed to hospital in agony.

Sean Marsden, 48, was getting frisky with girlfriend Louise Gray, 36, when he “slipped” and he heard his manhood break.

He saw his penis swell up with blood until it was the “size of a bottle of wine”.

Sean was rushed to hospital where surgeons dashed to operate on the penile fracture and torn urethra.

The painter and decorator, of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, said: “I heard it snap and I said to Louise straight away that something was wrong.

“I grabbed hold of it and it just grew and grew. I didn’t think it was going to stop.

“It went up to the size of a bottle of wine. It was beyond my control and scared me to death.”

He was fearful he wouldn’t be able to perform in the bedroom again, and may still be unable to conceive.

He added: “The pain was off the scale. It was really excruciating. It came in waves.

“I could actually see where it had broke and snapped.

“I knew that I had to go to hospital.”

The pair, who have been dating for six months, were doing “doggy style” when he misjudged and slipped into her pelvic bone on December 22.

Doctors gave him morphine at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, where Sean had to stay overnight.

Louise continued: “It was a scary thing to do because I didn’t want to hurt him again. It’s a relief that he can still have sex.

“He looked ok so I couldn’t say no. Obviously everything was working how it should.”


A penile fracture happens when the tissue fibres responsible for erectile function – the corpus cavernosum – rupture, causing an immediate loss of erection and severe bruising.

Sean’s penis was wrapped in bandages and a plastic rod was placed down his shaft to the base of his penis to ensure the muscle repairs straight, and not wonky.

Louise said she feels “traumatised” and guilty.

She added: “I was in complete shock when it happened. I knew that something was seriously wrong.

“I could see the break and could see that it was broken.

It was extremely traumatic and he has really struggled with it.

“I didn’t even think it was possible for a penis to snap. I felt so bad about it.

“I felt guilty and still feel guilty because I thought I was responsible. He’s been in so much pain and it has been awful to see.

It was really scary when it happened. I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless.”

The injuries left Sean unable to walk for days.


Jan 22nd

85 Dead in Mexican Pipeline Explosion A dramatic pipeline explosion in central Mexico Friday has killed at least 85 people, Mexican Health Minister Jorge Alcocer Valera said Sunday night, The Associated Press reported.

The explosion occurred in a field in the municipality of Tlahuelilpan as people rushed to gather fuel from the pipeline, which had been ruptured by suspected thieves. Many were covered in oil before a fireball shot into the air.

"Hit the ground," one person yelled, according to video footage described by The Guardian.

Fifty-eight people were injured and dozens are still missing, The Associated Press reported. The state and federal governments will cover all medical and funeral costs.

The piece of pipeline that exploded had been ruptured and repaired by thieves many times, according to locals.

"It was the popular tap," 22-year-old Enrique Cerron, who lives nearby, told The Associated Press. "You could pass by at 11 or 12 in the morning and see people filling up here."

The Associated Press described a festive atmosphere before the blast occurred:

At first, the gasoline leak was manageable, residents say, emitting a tame fountain of fuel that allowed for filling small buckets at a time. But as the crowd swelled to more than 600, people became impatient.

That's when a man rammed a piece of rebar into a patch, according to Irma Velasco, who lives near the alfalfa field where the explosion took place, and gasoline shot 20 feet into the air, like water from a geyser.

A carnival atmosphere took over. Giddy adults soaked in gasoline filled jugs and passed them to runners. Families and friends formed human chains and guard posts to stockpile containers with fuel.

Omar Fayad, the Governor of the State of Hidalgo, where the explosion took place, warned people on Twitter of the dangers of stealing fuel, according to The Guardian.

"What happened today in Tlahuelilpan should not be repeated," he said.

The incident comes as the government of newly elected President Andrés Manuel López Obrador attempts to cut down on fuel theft. The government has shut off pipelines, meaning gas stations around the country have been out of fuel for up to two weeks, and drivers have grown desperate, CNN reported.

The particular pipeline where the explosion took place had been offline for four weeks before fuel began flowing again, The Associated Press reported.

The pipeline belonged to state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. The company initially blamed thieves for the explosion, but an investigation is ongoing. General Prosecutor of Mexico Alejandro Gertz Manero said it was possible the blast was caused by static electricity from the synthetic fibers of the clothing of the people crowding around the pipeline


Jan 11th

Patient who went to A&E 400 times in one year

“Frequent flyers” to Accident and Emergency units are going to hospital up to 400 times a year – more often than the average doctor or nurse, new analysis shows.

The study reveals more than 30,000 patients who attended casualty units at least 10 times a year.

This included 10 patients who went to hospital on more than 235 occasions – more than the 220 days worked on average by a nurse or doctor.

The most frequent user attended on 401 times in 2017/18, the figures show.

The analysis by the healthcare analysis company Dr Foster found that 31,492 people visited A&E in England 10 or more times between June 2017 and May last year.

·       An ageing population. There are one million more people over the age of 65 than five years ago. This has caused a surge in demand for medical care

·       Cuts to budgets for social care. While the NHS budget has been protected, social services for home helps and other care have fallen by 11 per cent in five years. This has caused record levels of “bedblocking”; people with no medical need to be in hospital are stuck there because they can’t be supported at home

·       Staff shortages. While hospital doctor and nurse numbers have risen over the last decade, they have not kept pace with the rise in demand. Meanwhile 2016 saw record numbers of GP practices close, displacing patients on to A&E departments as they seek medical advice

·       Lifestyle factors. Drinking too much alcohol, smoking, a poor diet with not enough fruit and vegetables and not doing enough exercise are all major reasons for becoming unwell and needing to rely on our health services. Growing numbers of overweight children show this problem is currently set to continue


The study of NHS Digital's hospital episode statistics found repeat visitors were more likely to live in deprived areas and to visit A&E at night, with the largest age group involving those in their 20s.

Alcohol, drugs and mental health problems were commonly found among the group.

Among those admitted to hospital, rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were twice as high than that of other patients.  The main cause of the respiratory illness is smoking.

The report highlights a scheme led by paramedics in Blackpool which saw a 90 per cent drop in attendances by “high intensity users” after they were offered other services, including counsellingand non-emergency help.

The scheme is now being rolled out more widely.

An NHS England spokesman said: "The NHS long-term plan sets out a range of options for people to get urgent and emergency care outside A&E, including NHS 111 online and seven day crisis care for mental ill health.

"This is precisely the sort of supportive and positive action that is improving patient care while reducing pressure on services the NHS, which will be ramped up through the long-term plan for the NHS."


Jan 9th 

Fears of Environmental Disaster After Oil Tanker Collision

The oil tanker that set fire after colliding with a freight ship off the east coast of China may explode and sink, possibly putting the environment and human health at risk, experts warned.

The Iranian tanker was carrying 150,000 tons, or nearly 1 million barrels, of condensate crude oil when it collided with the CF Crystal on Saturday. Condensate is an ultra-light hydrocarbon that is highly toxic and much more explosive than regular crude oil.

The size of the oil spill from the ship and the extent of the environmental harm are currently unknown but the disaster has the potential to be the worst since the ABT Summer spill off the Angolan coast in 1991, Reutersnoted.

Chinese authorities have since dispatched three cleaning boats to the site. Search and rescue are also underway for the 32 crew members that have gone missing after the collision in the mouth of the Yangtze River Delta.

"First and foremost, Greenpeace hopes that the search and rescue operations of the Chinese coast guard go smoothly and the 32 missing crew will be found," said Greenpeace East Asia campaigner Rashid Kang.

But the environmental organization is also concerned about the potential environmental damage that could be caused by the release of the oil on board.

"We are worried about the potential environmental impact that could be caused by leakage from the vessel that was holding almost 42 million gallons of crude oil. A clean up procedure is already underway and we will be monitoring its progress," Kang said.

As the BBC reported, condensate is both color- and odor-less, making it hard to detect, contain and clean up compared to heavy crudes.

Additionally, condensate is "not like crude, which does break down under natural microbial action; this stuff actually kills the microbes that break the oil down," Simon Boxall, of the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, explained to the news service.

Boxall said the best hope was to put out the fire and stop the ship from sinking.

"If she sinks with a lot of cargo intact, then you have a time bomb on the sea bed which will slowly release the condensate," he said.

"There could be a long-term exclusion of fishing for many hundreds of kilometers in this area," Boxall added.

Babatunde Anifowose, a senior lecturer in petroleum and environmental technology at the University of Coventry told CNN that if the tanker explodes and sinks, cleanup will be made much more difficult due to the oil seeping beneath the surface of the water.

Anifowose also noted that the toxic fumes released by condensate could could be picked up by winds and carried onto nearby onshore populations.

The fumes "could aggravate existing health conditions or lead to coughing or asthma," Anifowose said.

But Mu Jianxin, a senior engineer at the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, told the Global Times that the oil is soluble in water, making it easier to handle.

“Pollution caused by the leak is certain, but compared to the wide watershed of the Yangtze River estuary, the 136,000 tons of oil should not cause too serious a problem," Mu said.

“Some physical methods can be used to dissolve or neutralize the oily pollutant."

Jan 1st 2019

Teenager left blinded when egg explodes in her face after cooking it in microwave

Courtney Wood, 19, still does not have full sight back in her left eye following the incident on Boxing Day

A teenager was left temporarily blind after a microwaved egg exploded in her face.

Courtney Wood, 19, has been without sight in her left eye following the traumatic incident, the Stoke Sentinel reports.

She was making breakfast on Boxing Day when she decided to cook an egg in a microwave, something she had done a number of times before.

The egg exploded in her face without warning after she took it out of the microwave oven, leaving her with burns and painful blisters.

She said: “On Boxing Day morning I was cooking myself some breakfast. I had put some bacon under the grill and then I put an egg in a jug with a bit of water – as I have done before – and popped it in the microwave for a minute.

“The microwave didn’t ping so I took the egg back out, popped it on the side and checked on the bacon.

“When I turned back towards the jug the egg exploded in my face.”

Courtney immediately began screaming and attempted to splash cold water on her face.

She then called a friend due to the excruciating pain she was experiencing.

“By this point I couldn’t see and I was screaming in pain,” she continued. “My friend came round straightaway and he called 111 who told me to go straight to A&E.”

Medics at the Royal Stoke University Hospital treated her with morphine and gauze.

Doctors reassured Courtney that the burns were not serious and said that she had scratched both corneas – but stressed that her eyesight damage was not permanent.

Courtney then stayed with her mum Tracy for a couple of days after the accident.

The sight in my right eye came back within 48 hours but I still can’t see properly out of my left,” said Courtney.

“I have eye drops and steroids and I have to go back to the eye clinic every day until my eyes have healed.

Doctors have told me the sight in my left eye may not be restored for a week or maybe even longer,” she added.

“This was the worst pain I have ever suffered – it was horrific – and I would hate anyone else to have to go through what I have been through.”


Feb 11th 2018

Skin creams 'linked to hundreds of deaths'

Skin creams containing paraffin could be linked to hundreds of fire-related deaths, a senior firefighter has said.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service watch commander Chris Bell said the creams used to treat skin conditions were safe to apply but warned they could become flammable when they soak into fabrics, clothes and bandages and come into contact with cigarettes or naked flames.

The creams are used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

"Hundreds of thousands of people use them, we're not sure how many fire deaths might have occurred but it could be into the hundreds," he told BBC 5 Live.

"People are using paraffin-based skin products to treat eczema and psoriasis and various other skin creams, putting it all over their bodies and different parts of themselves - treating themselves for those different skin conditions.

"But unfortunately, that cream can get into fabrics, clothing, bandages and dressings, and become flammable.

"The creams are safe to use in their own right, but if that person is exposed to a naked flame or some other heat source, they can go up."

The comments come after an investigation by the radio station and Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire found just seven of 38 paraffin-based products licensed in the UK had warnings on their packaging.

Users should not smoke, use naked flames or go near anything which may cause a fire while the creams are in contact with dressings or clothing, according to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Its advice says "patients' clothing and bedding should be changed regularly - preferably daily - because emollients soak into fabric and can become a fire hazard".

IKEA bosses have issued another warning over accidents with a range of furniture after a boy was crushed by a set of drawers.

The company first issued a warning back in July after two children were killed when drawers and wardrobes fell on them.

Now another child has been killed in America, it's the third time the Malm range has been involved in fatal tipping incidents.

In a report by journalist Tricia Nadolny, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, mum Janet McGee had reportedly put her 22-month-old son Ted down for a nap and was checking on him every 20 minutes.

When she opened the door and found his empty bed, she assumed he was hiding – until she spotted the six-drawer dresser on the floor, on top of her son.

Although no tragedies have been reported in the UK, parents are being urged to make sure they use the fittings that come with the furniture to fix it to the wall.

A spokesman for IKEA said: "We at IKEA offer our deepest condolences to the McGee family.

"At IKEA, we believe children are the most important people in the world and the safety of our products is our highest priority.

"Upon being informed of this incident IKEA US immediately reported it to the authorities and an investigation is taking place.

"IKEA US has been advised that the product was not attached to the wall, which is an integral part of the products’ assembly instructions."

He added: "We wish to emphasise that the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to attach products to the wall with the included restraints and hardware per the assembly instructions.

"IKEA has included restraints with our chest of drawers for decades, and wall attachment is an integral part of the assembly instructions.”

A two-year-old boy from Pennsylvania, in America, died in February 2014 when a Malm chest fell on him and pinned him to a bed.

Three months later, a 23-month-old child from Washington was killed in when a three-drawer Malm chest tipped over.

IKEA has stores locally in Ashton-under-Lyne and Warrington.

Anyone concerned about their furniture can contact IKEA on 0203 645 0010 to request a free restraint kit if the original one was disposed of


Accidents in Industry

These are Bhopal victims of a gas leak, 30 years ago

Bad Accidents

The illustration above is of the victims of the Bhopal chemical disaster in India; there were many fatalities and thousands of injuries caused by the release of poisonous gas from a Chemical Factory.  This is considered to be the worst chemical release in history.

Factory accidents that happens without warning such as an explosion or fire are difficult to anticipate and prepare for, but you need to act sensibly should you be in the locality of such an event, do not be tempted to go and have a look think more of the safety of yourself and your family.

Factory premises and building sites have strict rules about safety designed to protect the workers and the general public, you should always read all warning notices, abide by their advice, wear protective clothing where instructed to do so and look after your personal safety and the safety of others.

Check the local news and weather forecasts, if you are downwind of the incident close your doors and windows to help prevent contamination by noxious fumes, prepare for evacuation, if you are able and you feel the need to move to a safer area, do not wait to be told go now take your grab bag and other essentials and go while you can.  Avoid the traffic jams that may happen a little later.

Mines are particularly prone to these disasters, the problem of working underground in a confined space with the possibility of a cave in and the constant danger of gas makes working down a mind a very dangerous occupation, these disasters can occur in the best of managed and regulated underground workings, unfortunately in some parts of the world the safety of the Miners seems to be given a little relevance, and the most important thing is production and more production.

And another equally dangerous the totally different job is deep sea fishing, even with modern trawlers there are still frequent reports of ships being lost at sea and individual injuries in sometimes very bad conditions which are all too frequent.

It is essential that you record in the accidents book any injuries that you receive at work even if it is only a scratch or a muscle sprain, if you have to claim at any time in the future the fact that you took the trouble to record the incident in the accident book  will stand you in good stead to prove responsibility.

We have to give praise, credit and admiration to our rescue workers and Fire fighters who risk their lives every day to aid people they do not even know.

Fortunately with modern communication systems these dangerous situations can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television.

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