Improving safety in the supply of liquefied petroleum gas

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is leading the implementation of the Government's response to issues raised by Lord Gill's inquiry into the fatal explosion at ICL Plastics in Glasgow in 2004.

Since the incident - in which nine people died and 33 were seriously injured following a leak of liquefied petroleum gas - HSE has been working with industry to improve safety.

Following the explosion, HSE launched a criminal investigation that led to two companies being prosecuted for breaking health and safety laws.

Lord Gill published the inquiry report in July 2009. It contained number of recommendations, including replacing buried metallic LPG service pipes, raising awareness of legal responsibilities among suppliers and consumers, and improving the regulatory regime.

LPG suppliers have already started on the replacement programme, which will see metal pipes at up to 40,000 commercial and industrial premises replaced with more durable materials, such as polyethylene. The oldest metallic pipework in the least well-maintained condition and located in the most corrosive soils being replaced by the end of 2013, significantly reducing risk. All will be replaced by 2015.

HSE and local authorities are also conducting a nationwide inspection initiative to check compliance with safety standards. Where standards are not met, enforcement action will be taken to ensure workers and the public are properly protected.

Following a consultation on the Gill report recommendations, the Government is also strengthening the regulatory regime for LPG by introducing installation records, a register of suppliers and providing new guidance. HSE will take this forward.

HSE is also going beyond the Gill recommendations in working with the industry to provide advice for domestic LPG customers to help make the decision about whether to replace their own pipework.  This advice will be based on HSE funded research in relation to domestic premises.

LPG is safe when stored and used in compliance with the relevant health and safety legislation, standards and industry codes of practice.

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