Kenneth Ewen gas meter

Gas engineer fined after suffering burns from explosion

A self-employed gas engineer from Bathgate and a Glasgow company have been fined more than £3,000 after the engineer and his son received serious burns following an explosion at a motor vehicle showroom in Glasgow.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that on 3 August 2016 Kenneth Ewen had been asked to install a heater in the wash area at Arnold Clark Limited on Kilmarnock Road. While Mr Ewen was carrying out the work, he asked his son to hold on to the end of a one inch gas pipe that had been connected to a redundant heater. There was an explosion and Mr Ewen and his son both sustained serious burn injuries. Several other men working in the immediate area were also put at risk of serious injury.

The HSE, investigating, found that Mr Ewen had climbed up a ladder and held on to an adjustable wrench that was attached to the pipe that his son was holding. Mr Ewen had previously used a mechanical angle grinder to cut through the gas pipe at the other side of the wash bay. He then used an angle grinder to cut through a mounting bracket that was still attached to the wall.

The HSE said there were insufficient and ineffective controls in place to address the risk from escaping gas. The gas way in the premises had not been made safe to enable work to be carried out on the gas fittings.

Thermatic Scotland Limited of Blairtummock Place, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 2(2)(a)+(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £1,600.

Kenneth Ewen of Woodbank Crofts, Westfield, Bathgate, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £1,200.

Speaking following the hearing, HSE inspector Gerard Muir said: “The injuries sustained by father and son could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

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