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Enviraz (Scotland) Limited fined in wake of fatal gas explosion

22 July 2021

AN ASBESTOS removal contracting business based in Glasgow has been heavily fined after a worker was fatally injured and another seriously injured in a gas explosion that took place four years ago.

Those presiding at Hamilton Sheriff Court (pictured) heard how. on 5 October 2017, workers were removing a boiler and pipework and over-spraying walls in order to remove asbestos residue at the former Pastoral Centre on 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 then 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 involved – namely Enviraz (Scotland) Limited – failed to ensure the gas pipe was isolated and purged of gas before work commenced.

Breach of Section 2(1)

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

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Helen Diamond said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided if the company had ensured that the gas pipe in the boiler room had been isolated and purged prior to removal. Within the asbestos licensing permissions regime, HSE expects licensed contractors to have adequate management arrangements in place to control non-asbestos risks.”

Diamond added: “Given the potential consequences of using a power tool on live or unpurged pipework, the management system to establish the status of the pipework needs to be robust and there should also be written confirmation of isolation.”

In conclusion, Diamond stated: “Tragically, one man has lost his life as a result of this incident, with a second worker sustaining life-changing injuries.”