Salisbury Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 18th October 2017, there was a gas explosion at a flat at Market Place, Chippenham, where construction work had been carried out to develop the property into flats.
Following the gas explosion, an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Prestige EA Ltd had failed to plan, manage and monitor construction work to prevent persons from being exposed to risks associated with asbestos. Prestige EA Ltd had been contracted to advise and manage the development of the property into four flats above a shop. The wrong type of asbestos survey was carried out before the work so the work completed did not comply with the law.
The now liquidated, Prestige EA Ltd of St James Parade, Bristol pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.
However, the HSE lost its case against a builder on more serious charges directly relating to the suspected cause of the gas leak – a severed pipe. Roderick Standing was a senior manager at the now dissolved Longwood Building Ltd and was contracted by Prestige EA Ltd to carry out the construction work. Following a trial, Mr Standing was found not guilty of breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 as it could not be established that it was his work that had left the gas pipe uncapped.