Leeds & West Yorkshire

Firms fined for safety failings in Leeds gas work fire

Two companies have been fined for safety failings which led to a severe fire in Leeds.

The fire in Dewsbury Road, Beeston in 2010 forced the evacuation of six homes, the closure of a major road and led gas supplies to be turned off.

The blaze started during welding work to divert a gas main.

Northern Gas Networks Operations Ltd was fined £35,000 and Morgan Sindall Infrastructure was fined £50,000 at Leeds Crown Court.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told the court both companies neglected basic safety measures when a new section of gas mains needed to be installed during construction on the ring road in Beeston.

'Severe fire'

Leeds-based Northern Gas Networks Operations Ltd (NGNO), which maintains the gas distribution system across the north of England, hired London-based Morgan Sindall Infrastructure (MSI), to divert the gas mains.

MSI was supervising but had sub-contracted parts of the project to two further firms.

The work meant installing a new section of gas mains to the existing system which required welding work to be carried out on the mains.

The HSE said the gas mains had not been adequately supervised and sparks from the hot welding work ignited the escaping gas.

An investigation by the HSE found the two sub-contractors were only competent in specific parts of the job and neither fully understood the overall work being carried out.

NGNO and MSI failed to effectively plan the necessary work or provide the safety controls under which the work could be done, the HSE said.

Both companies pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach and were also ordered to pay costs.

Ian Redshaw, HSE inspector, said: "Thankfully no-one was hurt but this was a severe fire that was a danger to workers and local people."

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