A water tank exploded after a self-employed plumber failed to use appropriate safety devices, a court has heard.
Lee Barrett was removing an existing water tank for a loft conversion at a property in Cambrian Way, Haslingden, when the plumbing accident happened in May 2014.
But as he did not put appropriate safety devices in place during the removal, Burnley Magistrates’ Court was told he had effectively created a closed water system combined with an old immersion heater.
This allowed water to heat to 100°C in a copper cylinder, which caused the devastating explosion.
The property suffered catastrophic damage when the cylinder ruptured and the stored water suddenly became steam. The whole building had to be demolished and rebuilt.
Lancashire-based Barrett was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after its investigation into the incident found he had failed to put in place appropriate safety devices.
The plumber pleaded guilty to Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
and was fined £500 with costs of £933.
Luckily no one was hurt in the incident, but the explosion could have easily caused serious injury or death.
Gas leaks are a common cause of explosions. When flammable gases such as butane, propane, methane or natural gas are exposed to an ignition source, explosions can occur in less than a fraction of a second.
Thousands of people are admitted to hospital with burn injuries following explosions every year.
Source: Health and Safety Executive