Northern Gas Networks fined £5m

Elena Frunza was caught in a gas explosion on 11 February 2019 that burned down her house in Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, West Yorkshire. She died in hospital the following morning.

Leeds Crown Court heard that a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the source of the gas escape was a fractured six-inch cast iron main running under the road in front of the property. The investigation found that 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 of Thorpe Business Park, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £5m and ordered to pay costs of £91,487.

HSE inspector Neil Casey said after the hearing: “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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