Company admits blame for gas explosion which killed worker in Newmains

A company has admitted blame for a devastating gas explosion that killed a worker in Newmains.

Another man was badly burned in the blast at the Roman Catholic Church Diocesan Centre in Bonkle Road.

Pawel Urbanski, 23, of Coatbridge, and 26-year-old Courtney Clinton, of Motherwell, suffered 80 per cent burns.

Mr Urbanski died in hospital four days later.

Dad of four Mr Clinton survived but has been left with life-changing injuries.

The men’s employer, asbestos removal firm Enviraz, today (Friday) admitted breaching health and safety legislation.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard the company failed to ensure the gas supply to the building was cut off before carrying out work in October 2017.

Asbestos was being removed from a boiler room prior to the disused building being demolished.

The blast happened when gas escaped and ignited as pipes were being cut.

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Emma Jeffrey, prosecuting, said a supervisor smelled gas but before he could do anything there was an explosion and he and a colleague were thrown to the ground.

Ms Jeffrey told the court: “They saw Mr Urbanski running screaming from the church building.

“His clothes had been burned off.

“The witnesses went inside and found Mr Clinton. His clothes had also been burned off.”

Both casualties were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where they underwent surgery.

However, Mr Urbanski ‘s condition deteriorated and he died four days later.

The court heard Mr Clinton required extensive hospital treatment for his burns and physiotherapy.

He developed sepsis and now suffers from depression and flashbacks.

Ms Jeffrey said: “The incident has had a catastrophic effect on him.”

The blast was investigated by the police and the health and safety executive.

It was found there was no written record of the gas supply having been isolated before work began.

The Diocese of Motherwell estates manager said the issue of gas had never been raised by Enviraz.

The company claimed it had been told all services had been isolated, but Ms Jeffrey stressed: “There is no documentary evidence to confirm this position.”

Sheriff Colin Dunipace expressed sympathy with relatives of the victims who attended the court hearing.

The sheriff said: “This was a tragedy with devastating consequences for Pawel Urbanski and Courtney Clinton. It has had an unimaginable impact on their families.”

Enviraz will be sentenced next month.

Daily Record – Motherwell