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Non-isolated gas supply leads to fatal explosion

An asbestos removal contractor has been fined after a worker was fatally injured and another worker seriously injured in a gas explosion.

Hamilton Sheriff’s Court heard how, workers were removing a boiler and pipework, and overspraying walls to remove asbestos residue, at the former Pastoral Centre in Bonkle Road, Newmains in Wishaw.

The work was being carried out prior to demolition. The plan was to cut the boiler and pipework into sections to make it easier to remove. However, the gas supply had not been isolated and the workers cut through a live gas outlet pipe, the gas ignited causing an explosion.

Two workers received extensive burns to their body and underwent surgery. One of the employees died in hospital several days after the incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that the risk assessment and plan of work for the job had identified services were present in the boiler room, but the company failed to ensure the gas pipe was isolated and purged of gas before work commenced.

Enviraz (Scotland) Limited of Kelvin Avenue, Hillington Business Park, Glasgow pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £150,000.