Road marking explosion sees worker injured

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A roadworker suffered minor burns when a road marking vehicle caught fire and exploded, a court has heard.

Neil Higgins from Leighton Buzzard, was laying road markings with a team at Imperial Park, Hartcliffe, Bristol on June 25, 2013 when the explosion happened, causing him to suffer burns.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Redland Road Marking Ltd at Bristol Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

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

Mr Higgins’ employer, Redland Road Marking Ltd, of Hillside Road, Leighton Buzzard, pleaded guilty to breaching work equipment regulations and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,123 in costs.

HSE principal inspector Helena Tinton, speaking after the hearing, said: “This is not the first time there has been a fire of this nature on a road marking vehicle and the operators need to ensure that the equipment has been installed by a competent person and regularly maintained.

“It is a matter of good fortune that nobody died as a result of this incident.”

> Further information about working safely with equipment can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm