Canadian Consulting Engineer

Panel calls for engineers’ review after Sunrise explosion

A panel appointed by the Ontario government following the massive explosion at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases...

November 20, 2008   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A panel appointed by the Ontario government following the massive explosion at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases plant in Toronto in August recommends that a professional engineer should certify all risk and safety management plans for such facilities.

The recommendation was one of 40 released by the panel which looked into the possible safety issues that caused the explosion. It occurred near Highway 401 and Downsview in northwest Toronto in the early morning of August 10. A firefighter and a worker at the plant died as a result, and thousands of people fled their homes.

Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) is applauding the safety panel’s recommendation.  Kim Allen, P.Eng., PEO Chief Executive Director, noted that an engineer “can identify, anticipate, quantify and manage risk.”

He also said that the complex issues related to propane safety and storage require an engineer’s expertise, especially with “the public accountability that their licence brings.”

Allen said that PEO hopes to see the panel’s recommendations are adopted quickly and is looking forward to working with the provincial government on the matter.

The safety review was conducted y Michael Kirk, P.Eng., a professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Queen’s University and Susana Katz, P.Eng., the B.C. government’s former chief inspector for gas safety.

A class action lawsuit by those affected by the explosion is under way.

 


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