Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

All Work Involving Gas Must Be Done By The Book

A gas explosion in Christchurch which left six people seriously injured and several properties uninhabitable serves as a warning to all gasfitters, says WorkSafe.

All work with gas must be done by the book - because when things go wrong, the consequences can be grave.

In July 2019, certifying gasfitter Gregory John Smith was repairing a fireplace at a home in Christchurch. As part of the repairs he removed a gas valve, which is used to control the flow of gas. He advised he would return the next day to complete the repairs.

“However, Smith had not disconnected the gas supply to the heater (by capping the open pipe) before leaving and did not instruct residents of the property not to turn the gas supply back on,” said WorkSafe’s Manager Energy Safety Mark Wogan.

Mr Wogan said these errors went on to have extraordinary consequences.

“Later that evening the gas supply was turned on to make dinner, which allowed gas to flow freely through the open pipe into the house. The following morning a thermostat in the hot water cylinder cycled, generating a spark, igniting the gas and creating the explosion.”

As a result the property was completely destroyed and its five occupants at the time were left with burns, some serious. One victim was placed into an induced coma for one month after suffering burns to his airways and another spent five weeks in a hospital burns unit after sustaining burns to 32 per cent of his body.

Five neighbouring houses were left uninhabitable and damage was caused to various other properties nearby.

Mr Wogan said WorkSafe’s investigation found that Smith had failed to disconnect the gas supply and had not advised residents to leave the gas supply off.

“He also did not place any warning or notices on the gas mains advising not to turn it on, or take any other preventative measures such as a lock to ensure the gas supply could not be turned back on.

“As a certifying gasfitter, Smith was aware that a failure to disconnect the gas supply to the heater was likely to cause serious harm or significant property damage. As an experienced gasfitter he would have been very familiar with the dangers involved.

“WorkSafe’s message to all gasfitters today is you must do things by the book. This is why there are such stringent regulations. Even the most experienced gasfitters can make mistakes, and the smallest mistakes can have catastrophic consequences.

“It is a profession in which customers have a lot of reliance and trust. That trust needs to be honoured through the activities undertaken, and the processes in place to keep people safe.”

Gregory John Smith was sentenced to 325 hours community work at the Christchurch District Court today. Smith’s company Gas Unlimited Limited was also sentenced today and ordered to pay a fine of $82,500. Both parties were sentenced to pay a total amount of $134,300 in reparation. At this stage, the judge did not identify how reparation would be split between both parties.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Motor Industry Association: 2020 New Vehicle Registrations Suffer From Covid-19

Chief Executive David Crawford says that like some other sectors of the New Zealand economy, the new vehicle sector suffered from a case of Covid-19. Confirmed figures for December 2020 show registrations of 8,383 were 25% ... More>>

CTU 2021 Work Life Survey: COVID And Bullying Hit Workplaces Hard, Huge Support For Increased Sick Leave

New data from the CTU’s annual work life survey shows a snapshot of working people’s experiences and outlook heading out of 2020 and into the new year. Concerningly 42% of respondents cite workplace bullying as an issue in their workplace - a number ... More>>

Smelter: Tiwai Deal Gives Time For Managed Transition

Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed to working on a managed transition with the local community,” Grant Robertson said. More>>

ALSO:

OECD: Area Employment Rate Rose By 1.9 Percentage Points In The Third Quarter Of 2020

OECD area employment rate rose by 1.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2020, but remained 2.5 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level The OECD area [1] employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – rose ... More>>

Economy: Strong Job Ad Performance In Quarter Four

SEEK Quarterly Employment Report data shows a positive q/q performance with a 19% national growth in jobs advertised during Q4 2020, which includes October, November and December. Comparing quarter 4, 2020, with the same quarter in 2019 shows that job ad volumes are 7% lower...More>>

NIWA: 2020 - NZ’s 7th-warmest Year On Record

The nationwide average temperature for 2020, calculated using stations in NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which began in 1909, was 13.24°C (0.63°C above the 1981–2010 annual average). New Zealand’s hottest year on record remains 2016, when... More>>

Quotable Value New Zealand: Property Market Set To Cool From Sizzling To Warm In 2021

Nostradamus himself could not have predicted the strange series of events that befell our world in 2020 – nor the wild trajectory of New Zealand’s property market, which has gone from “doom and gloom” to “boom and Zoom” in record time. Even ... More>>