AGL fined $325,000 for gas explosions which killed two

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AGL fined $325,000 for gas explosions which killed two

AGL Gas Networks Ltd has been fined $325,000 following two gas explosions at a Kogarah shopping centre in 1995, in which two people died and 17 others were injured.

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AGL Gas Networks Ltd has been fined $325,000 following two gas explosions at a Kogarah shopping centre in 1995, in which two people died and 17 others were injured.

The company, based at North Sydney, was found guilty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission sitting in Court Session for failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees and others not in its employ.

In November 1995 a gas pipeline at Railway Parade, Kogarah, was cut and capped by AGL in preparation for the demolition of four nearby shops.

The pipeline remained connected to the mains, and on 4 December the line severed, with the resulting gas leak causing explosions and fires.

An AGL Gas Networks Ltd maintenance crew sent to the scene after the first explosion did not have the necessary valve location map to enable them to find and shutdown the escaping gas.

While the maintenance crew searched for the shutdown valve and fire crews fought to extinguish the blaze, a second explosion occurred.

In imposing the penalty, Justice Monika Schmidt said: "I am satisfied that the risks to safety were foreseeable. They included the risk of death and injury, which must be reflected in the penalty imposed."

"The failure by AGL to supply its service crews with maps of shopping centre gas valves, which would have enabled them to have quickly and safely turned off the gas, placed its employees and emergency workers at serious risk," WorkCover Chief Executive Officer, Jon Blackwell, said.

WorkCover NSW (Insp Maltby) v AGL Gas Networks Ltd - IRC 5427, 5429 & 5430 of 1999

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