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Unite to assist those affected by Chemring explosion

UNITE the union will be providing support to those affected by the explosion and fire at the Chemring Countermeasures plant near Salisbury last week in which a worker was killed.

A 29-year-old man from Southampton died on Friday. Wiltshire Police say his relatives have been informed. The second man caught up in the explosion in the flare-manufacturing building was a 26-year-old from Pewsey. He was in a serious but stable condition at Salisbury District Hospital.

Six fire crews from Dorset and Wiltshire fire stations were involved in tackling the fire.

Unite has a significant membership at the company, which produces flares, chaff and decoys for use on military aircraft and ships. It’s liaising with management and the Health & Safety Executive to ascertain how the tragedy happened.

The union’s regional legal officer Stuart Davies said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with these workers and their families at this difficult time.

“Unite will be fully supporting our members, their families and the local community, to include any appropriate assistance through Unite legal services.

“As the investigation into the incident develops, Unite will be playing a full part in understanding how this terrible tragedy occurred, working to ensure that nothing similar can ever happen again.”

Chemring has started an investigation into the accident, in which equipment was also damaged and which has led to a temporary halt in production of military supplies.

The firm said: “A full and immediate investigation into the cause of the incident has been launched in co-operation with the local regulatory authorities.”

Wiltshire Police confirmed the force was investigating the explosion with health & safety officers and reassured the public that they faced no further risk.

Chemring shares tumbled more than 20 per cent as the firm admitted that its full-year underlying operating profit could be up to £20 million lower than expected as a result of the accident, with a “corresponding impact on the group’s operating cash flow and net debt.”

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