Demolition contractor fined after gas pipe explosion
A demolition firm has been fined for safety failings after an employee suffered serious burns when a live gas pipe ignited in his face.
The employee, 37, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was carrying out demolition work at a warehouse in Burton-on-Trent when he cut into a metal gas pipe that ignited in his face. He endured serious burns to his face and forearms.
He was taken to the local Queens Hospital and later transferred to the burns unit at Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was treated over two days.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted his employers, Birstall Demolition & Plant Services Ltd of Birstall, West Yorkshire, after an investigation revealed that his employers failed to do basic checks to ensure the pipe was safe.
HSE told Burton-on-Trent Magistrates’ Court how the worker could have died in the incident at Centrum 100 Business Park, Burton on Trent on 16 June 2010.
The court heard he was using an angle grinder to remove hardware from a mezzanine area when he cut into a metal gas pipe, unaware it was still live. It then ignited sending flames into his face and forearms.
Birstall Demolition and Plant Services Ltd of Gelderd Road, Birstall, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,256.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Alastair Choudhury said: "Injuries to workers in the demolition industry are all too common. Demolition activities need to be planned, supervised and monitored rigorously. However, Birstall Demolition & Plant Services Ltd failed to perform the simplest of checks to protect their employee by not making sure that the pipes were safe.
"This employee suffered serious burns, which would have been worse if he had not been wearing goggles and safety gloves. For a lengthy amount of time after the incident, he was not able to return to work. However he is now working again, for a different employer, still bearing the scars from his ordeal.
"This incident could easily have resulted in even more serious injuries; in fact he could have died."
- Click here to return to the previous page
- Subscribe to our free construction newsletters
- Buy & Sell Construction Plant Machinery online with TCiTrader.co.uk. Find new, used & reconditioned Construction Equipment. Click here to view Construction Equipment Classifieds.
- UK Construction Week: 9 major shows under one roof with 55,000 trade visitors and 1,000 exhibitors (6-8 October 2015 | NEC) - Register for FREE here
Download our free construction news iPhone / iPad app. Sign up to our FREE email newsletters or subscribe to our RSS feed for regular updates on the latest Construction News, Plant News, Contract News & Supplier News. The Construction Index also provides the latest Construction Tenders, Construction Market Data & Construction Law Commentary all FREE.
This article was published on 29 May 2012 (last updated on 29 May 2012).