French policemen look for evidence next to steam crackers at a TOTAL petrochemical site in Carling, Eastern France, July 15, 2009. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler(reuters_tickers)
PARIS (Reuters) - A petrochemical unit of French oil and gas company Total <TOTF.PA> has been found guilty and fined 200,000 euros (158,833 pounds) on Monday by a French court for a 2009 blast at its Carling plant that killed two and injured six.
A former manager of the petrochemical plant at the time of the accident was handed a one year suspended prison sentence and fined 20,000 euros.
"The disrespect of the procedure by field operators is the direct cause of the explosion but is not the sole and exclusive cause," he court said .
It added that the explosion would not have occurred if flame detectors that were supposed to have prevented the accident had worked properly. The judges rejected the company's argument of human error.
The blast at the Carling petrochemical unit near Strasbourg in the east of France occurred when workers tried to rekindle a gas oven used for cracking naphtha.
($1 = 0.8885 euros)
(Reporting by Gilbert Reilhac; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Geert De Clercq)