Murphy fined £150k after digger hits motorway gas pipe

Grant Prior 2 years ago
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John Murphy and Sons Ltd has been fined £150,000 for damaging a 10-inch gas pipeline during widening work on the M8 motorway near Coatbridge.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that on 16 January 2014, during the course of the excavation works for the gas pipeline diversion, Murphy hit the high pressure pipeline.

This resulted in 271 tonnes of gas being released into the atmosphere in the vicinity of employees near the M73 junction.

An HSE investigation found that the high pressure pipeline had been hit by an excavator during works for the gas pipeline diversion.

J. Murphy and Sons Ltd of Highgate Road, London, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and were fined £150,000.

After the hearing Hywel Williams, a 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.”

A spokesman for Murphy said “We pleaded guilty to damaging a gas pipeline on the 16th January 2014.

“It is an incident we regret and one we apologise for. We are fully aware of how important safety is in everything we do, so we have taken the lessons learnt on board to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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