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Gas firm fined after explosion at primary school

A Halifax-based gas servicing company has been prosecuted after there was an explosion in the boiler room of a local primary school.

What happened?

The explosion happened during a teacher training day, before children returned to Greetland Academy after the summer holidays, and blew out the boiler house door toward a paved area and the school playing field. Fortunately there were no injuries.

Marshall Gas Services Ltd which had held a contract to carry out annual inspections and services of the school for over ten years, had been on site that day to service three boilers and other gas appliances.

An investigation into the incident found that, despite the servicing contract, the boiler showed all the classic signs of poor maintenance, including excessive rust and debris, and had become increasingly dangerous.

The court heard that the build-up of debris and the partial blockage of the injectors would have occurred gradually over a period of time, and that the levels in the boiler were not consistent with a regular annual service regime.

What was the outcome?

Marshall Gas Services Ltd admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £35,699 in costs.

HSE inspector, Jackie Ferguson, said:

“This was an entirely preventable incident. It was pure luck no children
were around at the time as the boiler house was close to the
school playing field and access routes for
staff and pupils alike.

“Marshall Gas Services displayed a reckless disregard for the safety
of the community, and these young children in particular, and
the outcome could have been far worse.

“On the wider issue, all companies who carry out gas work must comply
with their legal duties and responsibilities. Experience has shown
that some operating in the gas sector are prepared to breach
regulations by undertaking gas work while not on the
statutory register and without the
necessary competency.

“There are also instances of registered engineers operating outside
the scope of their competency.”

If you have been affected by an accident such as this, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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