Fife Council has been fined £24,000 after it put the lives of its employees and the general public in danger.
The authority pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 when a group of its workers struck and ruptured an underground gas pipe at its Milesmark Depot in Dunfermline.
Almost four tonnes of gas was released into the air in the incident on 11 June 2010.
One hundred homes and businesses in the vicinity had to be evacuated, as well as a nearby primary school.
Risk of injury or death
Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard how workers and members of the public were put at risk of injury or death.
Thankfully, however, there were no casualties as a result of what happened.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the employees, who were not supervised, decided to excavate a new trench unaware a decision had been taken the day before not to dig in that particular area.
The digger they were using struck and ruptured a gas valve on a six-inch pressure main, forcing all properties in the area to be evacuated for five hours.
HSE inspectors concluded that Fife Council failed to assess the risks to members of the public near the depot, failed to provide and maintain a safe system of work for the excavation, and failed to provide the necessary information, instruction and supervision.
Claiming for a public accident injury
If you’ve been injured in a public accident that wasn’t your fault, then you may be entitled to claim compensation from the people responsible.
Accident Advice Helpline is always on hand to help victims when it comes to making personal injury claims.
You will need to prove that the person you are claiming against was responsible for your health and safety and that the accident occurred as a direct result of their negligence.
Source: The Courier
Date Published: May 7, 2014
Author: David Brown