On 24 June 2014, National Grid Gas plc was supervising repairs to a gas mains when a worker was trapped between two gas pipes after one of them burst. He fractured his femur. During these works the pressure behind the escaping gas increased and ruptured the pipeline.
Fire crews worked in zero visibility conditions to rescue the trapped engineer in defiance of the escaping gas creating a cloud of dust and debris. Fortunately the worker was wearing breathing apparatus, which may have saved his life.
At the sentencing hearing National Grid was found to have failed to comply with its own gas escape procedures, carry out sufficient risk assessments, communicate with the contractors carrying out the work and manage the handover of key personnel.
National Grid was fined £1million and ordered to pay costs of £26,296 for breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE Inspector Ian Redshaw, said: “This whole incident should act as a stark warning to all those involved in hazardous work – you can have all the written policies in place but it you do not follow them, if you do not carry out the risk assessments for the task, people could die.”