Gas fitter didn’t secure meter properly increasing risk of explosion…
A major explosion in Irlam has left up to 15 people injured including one elderly woman who has severe burns after a gas fitter failed to follow safety protocols while installing new kitchens.
The gas explosion occurred on 2 November 2010 and was of such magnitude that three houses were completely destroyed while several others suffered extensive damage.
Manchester Crown Court was told that one of the injured victims was making breakfast on the morning of the accident and as she turned the gas hob on, the gas ignited all around her and she was fortunate to escape with her life.
The subsequent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the accident discovered that the gas fitter had carried out some work in the area where the explosion occurred the day prior to the explosion. In the process of installing a new kitchen, the fitter had failed to ensure the gas meter was left in a secure state after initially disconnecting it in order to complete his work. This significantly increased the possibility of a gas leak and although the investigation also discovered a faulty gas pipe, they were unable to determine who was responsible for installing it.
The gas fitter pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 by failing to make sure the gas meter was secured according to expected safety protocols. He was fined £1,000 in addition to £500 in prosecution costs.
HSE Inspector Philip Strickland spoke after the hearing had concluded:
“The gas fitter’s actions increased the risk of the explosion, which destroyed three houses, damaged several others and injured 15 people.
“The weak connection on the pipes leading to the gas meter meant there had been a risk of a gas leak at the property for several years, and the person responsible for that work would also have been prosecuted if we had been able to identify them.
“However, the gas fitter increased the risk of an explosion when he decided to rest the meter on a pile of bricks, rather than properly securing it to the wall or a raised platform on the floor.
“If registered gas engineers do not meet their legal duties they can expect to be held account for their actions. They must apply their knowledge and skills on every job and make sure appliances and supplies are left safe for people to use.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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