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St Helens gas explosion MD considering appeal

27 February 2012

John Webster, the managing director of North West Gases, who was found guilty at Liverpool Crown Court of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act after an explosion at his St Helens business, has told his local newspaper he is considering an appeal.

North West Gases' premises after the explosion
North West Gases' premises after the explosion

Webster was found guilty after being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the gas explosion, in which he and two other employees suffered injury.

Webster and another employee were removing the valve on a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder when gas escaped from the cylinder and ignited, causing an explosion and fire, which inflicted extensive damage to the premises.

He was fined £22,500 and ordered to pay £2,500 in prosecution costs after a jury found him guilty of failing to take reasonable care of his employees.

Webster has now said he is considering appealing the decision. He told the St Helens Reporter: “A company doesn’t gain a previously unblemished safety record stretching over 30 years at two separate North West sites by not following strict guidelines drawn up for the handling of LPG cylinders. I was rightly proud of our safety record.”

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