illegal gas fitter

Employee burned after blow torch ignited gas from open-ended pipework

A Lancashire plumbing and heating firm has been fined £5,000 after its employee suffered serious burns following an explosion at a home in Preesall.

Blackpool Magistrates’ Court heard that on 13 March 2019, the employee of John Leadley Limited had been replacing a gas boiler in the hallway of a bungalow. As part of the work, they were soldering new water pipes when there was a sudden explosion, which caused serious burn injuries. The homeowners were in the property at same time and were also put at risk of serious injury.

The HSE investigation found that a flammable atmosphere had developed within the hallway of the property, which was subsequently ignited by a blow torch. The gas supply pipe has been cut before installation of new boiler, but had been left open ended and not sealed with an appropriate fitting. The gas supply had not been isolated correctly, which meant that gas could pass through the open-ended pipework into the hallway, creating the flammable atmosphere.

The company, John Leadley Limited, of Victoria Road East, Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,756.35.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Anthony Banks said: “The injuries sustained to this employee could so easily have been avoided, simply by John Leadley Limited carrying out the correct control measures and safe working practices.”

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