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M8 gas leak leads to substantial fine

Health & Safety

Whilst undertaking work to allow the widening of the M8 motorway a company struck a high pressure pipeline.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that on 16 January 2014, during excavation works for a gas pipeline diversion, John Murphy and Sons Ltd hit the high pressure pipeline which was operating at 39 bar. This led to 271 tonnes of gas being released into the atmosphere whilst in the vicinity of employees near the M73 junction.

The investigation by HSE found that the high pressure pipeline had been hit by an excavator during works for the gas pipeline diversion. The company plead guilty to breaching Regulation 15 of The Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996 and Section 33(1) (c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £150,000.

Hywel Williams, an HSE inspector specialising in pipelines, said: “This incident was totally avoidable and put workers at risk. The contractor failed to follow procedures and chose to conduct excavations in the vicinity of a high pressure pipeline by mechanical excavator instead of excavating by hand.”


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