SHP Online reported on the prosecution of the company after the employee suffered ‘serious burns’ at a property in Preesall on 13 March 2019. This employee was ‘soldering new water pipes’ when the ‘sudden explosion’ occurred, and the homeowners were in the property at the time, meaning they were ‘also put at risk of serious injury’.

After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was established that a flammable atmosphere had ‘developed’ in the hallway of the property, which was then ‘subsequently ignited’ by a blow torch. A gas supply pipe had been cut before a new boiler was installed, and the open end of that pipe ‘had not been sealed with an appropriate fitting’.

Additionally, the gas supply had not been ‘correctly isolated’ from the property, meaning that gas was able to ‘pas through’ the open ended pipe into the hallway, thereby creating the flammable atmosphere. The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £5,000 alongside being ordered to pay costs of £4,756.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Anthony Banks commented: ‘The injuries sustained to this employee could so easily have been avoided, simply by John Leadley Limited carrying out the correct control measures and safe working practices.’