• Robert Spicer

Bristol Vehicle Explosion: Health And Safety Prosecution

Exploding vehicle: £2000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Redland Road Marking Ltd (2014) Bristol magistrates’court, October 8.

Redland Road Marking Ltd has been fined following the explosion of a road marking vehicle.

Significant points of the case

  • In June 2013 Neil Higgins, an employee of the company, was laying road markings in Bristol. The road marking vehicle caught fire and exploded. Higgins suffered minor burns.

  • The HSE investigation found that gas-heated cauldrons on top of the vehicle were unsuitable for the work. The pipework was not properly connected and had not been fitted by a competent person. The equipment had no flame failure devices.

The company was fined £2000 plus £1,123 costs under regulation 4(1), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) for failing to ensure that work equipment was suitable for the purpose for which it was used or provided.

A spokesperson for the HSE is reported to have commented after the case that this was not the first time that there had been a fire of this nature on a road marking vehicle. Operators needed to ensure that equipment had been installed by a competent person and regularly maintained. It was a matter of good fortune that nobody dies as a result of the incident.

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