The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has successfully prosecuted a firm based in Kingsbury, Tamworth after 35,000 litres of unleaded petrol escaped from faulty pipework in October 2010.
The company is responsible for coordinating the movement of fuel from oil refineries through a complex network of national pipelines to various customers.
Warwick Crown Court heard that the pipework involved had been replaced and reconfigured but not tested before use. The joints and fittings were inadequate and leaked under high pressure.
The leak could have caused a possible fire and explosion. A significant decontamination project was required to clear up the affected area.
Warwick Crown Court fined the firm £30,000 with costs of £58,606 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Alex Nayar said:
“This was a very serious incident with the potential to be extremely dangerous. It was also one that could have been avoided very simply.”
“When plant is changed or modified it has to be tested and commissioned before being put into operation. That did not happen. If done properly it could have identified the fault.”
“The leak posed two major hazards, a fire or a vapour cloud explosion. It is extremely fortunate that neither happened in this case as the outcome could have been much worse.”