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Property developer sentenced over Manchester gas explosion

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

A property development firm has been fined £100,000 following a major gas explosion that injured a worker and destroyed dozens of homes in South Manchester.

Manchester Crown Court heard that a former hospital building was being converted into houses and apartments when a worker cut through a six-inch gas pipe in an underground tunnel.

He suffered burns to his hands and face when gas inside the pipe ignited. About an hour later, gas that had continued to leak from the damaged pipe ignited again causing an explosion that destroyed a large part of the site.

The court was told that the principal contractor for the development had obtained a diagram from National Grid during the planning stages of the project which showed a gas main running into the site.

However, the company did not arrange for a detailed survey to be carried out to find out where the pipe ran, and wrongly informed workers on the site that the gas pipes had been decommissioned.

After the hearing, Thomas Merry, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“Construction companies involved in the refurbishment or demolition of buildings must make sure they know what potential dangers they’re dealing with before they allow work to start.”


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