In recent court proceedings, a self-employed gas contractor and his son have been found liable following a gas explosion in Glasgow from which they both received serious burn injuries. On the 3rd of August 2016, Kenneth Ewen was contracted to install a heater at Arnold Clark Limited. During the work, Ewen asked his son hold onto the end of a one-inch gas pipe that had been connected to a redundant heater, while he climbed a ladder, holding onto an adjustable wrench attached to the pipe. Mr Ewen had previously used a mechanical angle grinder to cut through the gas pipe at the other side of the wash bay. He then used the angle grinder to cut through a mounting bracket that was still attached to the wall. The negligent manner in which the task was carried out resulted in a gas explosion that caused severe burn injuries for Ewen and his son. The court also heard that the explosion put those in the building at risk of serious injury.
The court found that there were insufficient and ineffective controls in place to address the risk from escaping gas causing harm during the works. The gas way in the premises had not been made safe to allow work to be carried out on the gas fittings. This is a case of negligence, in which the contractor should have ensured all control measures were in place before work commenced.
The court found Thermatic Scotland Limited of Blairtummock Place, Glasgow guilty of breaching Section 2(1) and Section 2(2)(a) +(c) of the HASAWA 1974 and was fined £1,600.
The contractor, Kenneth Ewen of Woodbank Crofts, Westfield, Bathgate was found guilty of Section 3(2) of the HASAWA 1974 and was fined £1,200.
Could CRAMS help?
Completing a risk assessment with CRAMS is easy!
All company hazards and risk types are stored on the company site in a library and are available for staff to use from a drop-down menu, so the assessor can simply pick applicable hazards from a drop-down, guiding them to question each risk type to see if they apply to the task. With a steadfast risk assessment and method statement system in place, employees are aware of required control measures, significantly reducing risk.