Gas worker in blast gets £230,000 compensation

A man, who was seriously injured in a gas explosion at a pub, has been awarded £230,000 in compensation .

Danny McLeod, 50, of Norwich, was working for Transco as a gas engineer when he was sent to an emergency at the London Tavern pub in Coltishall, Norfolk, after reports of a gas leak. As Mr McLeod entered the cellar of the pub to investigate there was an explosion which carried him several metres. The majority of the building collapsed in the blast which also blew out the windows of nearby shops. The pub had to be demolished as a result.

Mr McLeod suffered severe neck injuries and has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder following the accident on 2 May 2003.

The gas leak was caused when a contract worker laying cables for a broadband service, severed a gas main. Schememade Ltd, an Essex based company admitted liability as they failed to check the area in which their employees would be drilling. They settled out-of-court with Mr McLeod who was supported in his case by GMB union. They had previously been fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000 at Norwich Magistrates Court in December 2005 after admitting breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Although he suffered physical injuries, the most damaging of all to Mr McLeod is the long term psychological harm caused by the blast. He has not been able to return to his much loved job as a gas engineer after he suffered a breakdown and is currently employed as an odd-job man.

Mr McLeod said: “The explosion virtually demolished the pub. It was horrifying. I suffered neck injuries but my main injury was post traumatic stress disorder. I’m devastated because I’ve not been able to return to that kind of work which I enjoyed so much. I’ve developed a stutter and now I have difficulty in coping with jobs that require concentration, which is very frustrating and debilitating.”

Ed Blissett, regional secretary for the GMB union said: “This explosion could so easily have been avoided but instead seriously injured Danny and wrecked his career.”

Mr McLeod is happy with the settlement and is relieved that the case is finally resolved five years after the accident.

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