When you go to a reputable company, you expect that they would have the right systems and training in place to ensure the safety of their employees and you; wouldn’t you? Particularly when they are handling something that is potentially dangerous and explosive.
We work with many businesses that have bulk fuel and gas deliveries and often have to stress to them the importance of making the right checks on the supplier and the need for having in place and following robust filling procedures.
A recent case shows the importance of this and how small mistakes can easily escalate. This occurred at domestic premises but would apply to commercial sites as well.
Recently, Flogas an LPG supplier, has been fined £25,000 after a large leakage from a tanker caused the emergency services to evacuate 15 people from nearby houses. The HSE said the serious occurrence could have endangered lives had the LPG liquid and gas ignited.
Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard how a LPG tanker vehicle was offloading propane LPG into a number of smaller LPG vessels. During the offloading, the tanker driver heard a loud bang and saw LPG gas vapour coming from the underside of the tanker.
The driver initiated an emergency shut down, but it failed to fully close the main isolation valve on the vessel and LPG liquid gas vapour continued to leak from a broken flange on the pump. This could easily have resulted in a large fire and explosion.
The emergency services attended and set up an exclusion zone which resulted in residents from nearby houses being evacuated. The tanker lost around 11,700 litres (6 tonnes) of propane LPG.
In court Flogas Britain Limited, of Syston, Leicester was fined a total of £25,000, and ordered to pay £8,673.12 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The HSE Inspector on the case commented that this was a serious and dangerous occurrence. If the LPG liquid and gas had ignited there would probably have been a large fire or explosion, which may have endangered a number of lives.