An LPG supplier was fined after a large leakage from a tanker caused the emergency services to evacuate 15 people from nearby houses.

The Flogas Britain vehicle was offloading propane LPG into a number of smaller LPG vessels when the tanker driver heard a loud bang and saw vapour coming from the underside of the tanker, Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard on 8 October.

The driver initiated an emergency shutdown, but it failed to fully close the main isolation valve on the vessel and the LPG vapour continued to leak from a broken flange on the pump.

The emergency services attended and set up an exclusion zone, which resulted in residents from nearby houses being evacuated. The tanker lost around 11,700 litres (6 tonnes) of propane LPG during the incident on 28 October 2012.

Flogas Britain Limited of Leicester was fined a total of £25,000, and ordered to pay £8673.12 in costs after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE inspector Mahesh Mahey said: “This was a serious and dangerous occurrence. If the LPG had ignited there would probably have been a large fire or explosion, which may have endangered the lives of the fire service and the Flogas employee.”

In response, a Flogas representative said: “Flogas takes the health and safety of our employees, our customers and the general public very seriously. Immediately following the incident, we carried out a thorough review of our tanker inspection and maintenance regimes. We have subsequently made further engineering enhancements to the safety systems on our vehicles as part of our ongoing commitment to maintaining a good safety record.”