Worker Suffers Burns In Gas Explosion

Incident Puts Construction Safety In The Spotlight


A workplace injury specialist has called for construction workers to recognise the potential dangers on projects related to gas pipework, after a builder was fined over an explosion in which a labourer suffered severe burns.

Stephen Rowley, 43, from Macclesfield, suffered face, neck and arm injuries in the blast at Egerton Youth Club in Knutsford, which was caused when sparks from a power tool he was using set alight leaking gas and created a fireball in the trench where he was working.

An investigation into the case revealed that the worker’s employer Paul Leonard failed to consider the presence of the pipework in the project and did not ensure the gas supply was isolated. No trench supports or access facilities were also provided for the work.

Mr Leonard was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs in relation to the incident.

Stephen Nye, a Partner and specialist in workplace injury claims at Irwin Mitchell, said: “A key aspect of keeping workers safe is to assess any possible and risk and provide tools to ensure they can fulfil their duties in the best possible manner.

“Unfortunately, the employer in this incident failed to consider the potential dangers related to this project, and the consequences proved to be devastating.

“We act in a number of cases in which employers have simply failed in their responsibilities to keep workers safe and this is simply unacceptable.

“It is vital that companies learn lessons from cases like this and, in turn, make strides in pushing through improvements that boost health and safety in the workplace.”