Northern Gas Networks Ltd fined after woman dies in gas explosion

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gas explosion

Northern Gas Networks Ltd has been fined for safety breaches after a fire and gas explosion killed a woman in Mirfield

On 11 February 2019, West Yorkshire Fire service were called to a property on fire in Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, West Yorks following a gas explosion.

The occupier, Elena Frunza, was discovered during a search of the property, whilst it was still on fire. Elena Frunza was taken to Pinderfields General Hospital but sadly died the following morning.

Breached Section 3 (1)

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) led an investigation and found that the source of the gas leak was due to a fractured six inch cast iron main running under the carriageway to the front of the property. The main did not appear on Northern Gas Networks drawings and had therefore not been maintained in accordance with the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996.

Northern Gas Networks Ltd pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Fined £5 million

The company was fined £5 million and ordered to pay costs of £91,487.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Casey said: “This incident, that put the lives of the elderly residents of a care home at risk and cost a homeowner her life, has highlighted a failure by Northern Gas Networks Limited to follow their own safety procedures, in this case requiring the prompt and effective investigation and correction of anomalies in their records. Other gas network operators should take the opportunity to learn from this tragic incident.”

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