Firm fined over gas blast at hotel

27 Jun 2014

A catering supply firm has been fined £7,500 for safety failings after a gas explosion in a hotel kitchen left three people seriously hurt.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday how a customer, barmaid and a gas worker at the Drumtochty Arms in Auchenblae Market Square were injured in the explosion on January 7, 2009.

Instant Catering Maintenance Ltd (ICM) was installing a propane-based appliance system in the ground floor kitchen of the hotel at the time, the court was told.

The barmaid, Danielle Ormond, detected a strong smell of gas when she went to the cellar as ICM worker Neil Coffield was getting rid of gas from the system. Both were seriously hurt in the explosion a short while afterwards. Hotel customer James Guthrie was also injured as he was just outside the kitchen door smoking a cigarette.

The court heard that ICM had created and fitted a steel manifold to carry gas to the kitchen appliances but there was no way to purge the system.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found a chargrill was not fitted with a regulator and although a hotplate range and hob did have regulators, another ICM worker had fitted them the wrong way round and had not converted them for propane gas use.

Instant Catering Maintenance Ltd (ICM), of Union Street, Aberdeen, was fined after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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