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Transparency vital to industrial safety: French expert

2012/06/22 16:01:41

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) A visiting French official who specializes in industrial risk management said Friday in that information transparency is crucial to industrial safety.

Damage can be greatly reduced if the public is educated about the risks of living close to industrial sites and people are aware of the proper evacuation procedures, said Philippe Hirtzman, chairman of the Security and Risks Section of France's High Council for Economy, Industry, Energy and Technologies.

This has been proven in France and other parts of the world where major industrial accidents have occurred, he said in an interview before attending a forum in Taipei on industrial safety.

However, it is not an easy task to convey information to the public about industrial safety, Hirtzman said.

"It's a discussion between technology and sociology," he said.

For example, he said, public misunderstanding about the risks associated with nuclear power plants could be reduced if unbiased information was publicized by an independent commission on a routine basis.

Another strategy to help avoid industrial disasters is comprehensive planning for land use, said Hirtzman, who is scheduled Monday to visit naphtha cracker plants in Mailiao, a coastal area of Yunlin County in south-central Taiwan.

The two-day forum, organized by Taiwan Safety Council, was held in Taipei from June 21-22. The participants included public safety specialists from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, France and Taiwan.

(By Nancy Liu)