Energy utility firm National Grid has been fined and ordered to pay costs after work carried out by its engineers resulted in a gas leak at a home in the West Midlands.
The incident occurred in August 2010, following work to replace the gas supply to a property in Halesowen. The engineers inadvertently drilled through a plastic main contained within an iron main, causing gas to leak into another home some 150 yards away.
At a recent hearing at Dudley Magistrates’ Court, National Grid was ordered to pay a fine of £17,500, along with costs of £8,192. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warned that the leak could have put the health of local residents at serious risk.
“The risk to members of the public was extremely high, which underlines the importance of operators having accurate pipeline records,” said HSE inspector Francine Cheney. “The hole that had been drilled was three quarters of an inch wide, and allowed more than half a tonne of gas to escape - enough to result in an explosion had it been ignited.”
Earlier this month, a gas fitter from Middleton, Greater Manchester, was fined £2,279 after admitting breaching safety regulations.