Health & Safety

'Several people could have died' - pub fined £25,000 after chef injured in explosion

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Injured: chef was thrown across kitchen when gas oven exploded
Injured: chef was thrown across kitchen when gas oven exploded

Related tags Occupational safety and health

A West Sussex pub company was slapped with a £25,000 fine after a chef at one of its pubs was badly injured in a gas explosion. 

The chef at the Three Crowns, Wisborough Green, was thrown across the kitchen and suffered burns to his face, hands and arms when the pub’s faulty gas oven blew up on 2 November.

Chichester District Council cabinet member for housing and environmental services Carol Purnell said: “This was a shocking breach of work health and safety law and several people could have died.”

Sussex Pub Management, which owns the pub, pleaded guilty to violating the Health and Safety at Work Act and was ordered to pay costs of £6,289.50 and £300 in victim compensation on top of the fine.

Flame failure device

Guildford Magistrates Court last week (18 November) heard that – among several faults – the oven had no flame failure device as required by safety regulations, which led to the explosion, and that a contractor used to repair the oven was not an appropriately registered engineer.

A previous chef at the pub had suffered burns trying to light the same oven back in 2013, and, in 2012, a report by a safety consultant that stated the cooker should be inspected was never followed up on, the court heard.

'Completely preventable'

Councillor Purnell added: “Sadly, this was a completely preventable accident if the company had acted early to ensure the gas oven was safe to use.”

“It ignored staff concerns and those of a safety expert, and two people were injured. Health and safety laws are there to protect employees and the company failed in its legal duties.”

Enterprise Inns was fined £95,000 earlier this year when a member of staff at one of the company’s tenanted pubs suffered burns from a gas-fired cooking range.

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