National Grid Gas PLC has been fi ned £17,500, with £8,192 costs, after gas leaked into a Halesowen home. Engineers were replacing the gas supply to a residential property when the leak occurred. The engineers left the street, unaware that they had inadvertently drilled through a plastic main causing gas to leak into a property some distance away. A member of the public reported a smell of gas in the area.
A number of properties were visited, and gas was found to be present in high levels in one property through a letter-box probe. The property was made safe in the early hours of the following morning.
The HSE investigation noted that the leak would not have occurred if National Grid Gas PLC had updated its records to show the existence of the plastic main. The company had procedures in place to allow for record correction and updating, but it did not carry out these procedures in relation to this particular pipeline. The importance of accurate pipeline records is extremely high given the risk to members of the public. As a result, the company was prosecuted under s3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.