Contractor fined after gas explosion

A contractor has been fined after a gas explosion at a domestic property in Lesmahagow, Scotland.

Lanark Sheriff Court heard that, on 22 March 2007, Turriff Contractors Limited was contracted to construct and install a gas main on a street in Lesmahagow.

The gas main Turriff constructed and installed failed three days later, causing extensive damage to a bungalow on the street, the court was told. The two occupants of the bungalow escaped with minor injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found poor construction of the gas main to be the cause of the explosion. The gas main was constructed near to a low voltage electrical cable that later short circuited. The heat generated from this caused the release of natural gas, leading to the subsequent explosion.

The contractor also failed to adequately supervise the construction and installation of the gas main, it was found.

Turriff Contractors Limited, of Stepps, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £80,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE head of gas and pipelines Julie Voce says: “It was very fortunate the two residents escaped this life-threatening incident with minor injuries. Duty holders must construct and install all gas pipelines to the required standard. In this case Turriff Contractors failed to do so and we hope that lessons have been learned to avoid similar events occurring in the future.”


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