UK Company Fined $1.5 Million After Gas Main Fire

Two workers were injured, with one suffering severe burns, when a gas main ignited while they were trying to repair a leak.

A major UK gas distribution company and a construction company have been fined for an incident where a gas main ignited while it was being repaired on May 27, 2016. Two workers were injured, one of them suffering severe burns, the Health and Safety Executive reported.

Southern Gas Network Plc employees were called to a gas leak in Kent. The leak was caused by employees of Cliffe Contractors Ltd who damaged a medium-pressure polyethylene gas main during construction work. During the repair by Southern Gas Networks, the gas ignited, causing the workers' injuries. The less seriously injured worker sustained cuts and bruises.

An HSE investigation found Cliffe Contractors Ltd had not followed safe digging techniques when excavating around the pipeline, and that SGN did not follow its own procedures or a safe work plan while repairing the gas main. Southern Gas Networks Plc had pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at an earlier hearing; it was fined £1.2 million (about $1.5 million in U.S. dollars) and ordered to pay costs of £18,975.43. Cliffe Contractors Ltd also had pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at an earlier hearing; it was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,689.13.

"This incident, in which a worker could have easily been killed, could have been avoided if safe excavation by Cliffe Contractors had been carried out and safe mains repair policies had been followed by SGN. Both companies were aware of the precautions that were required to be taken," said HSE Principal Specialist Inspector Martin Wayland. "Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards."

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Incident investigation guide

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark FR Quiz

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2020

    July August 2020

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Addressing Confined Spaces and Heat Stress Concerns
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Why Daily Wear FR Garments Make Sense No Matter the Season
    • HAND PROTECTION
      The Magic of New Technology
    • CHEMICAL SAFETY
      Why Effective Chemical Safety Training is More Important Than Ever
    View This Issue