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Two major companies to pay over £100,000 after major blazes in Leeds

by Redmans Solicitors on August 12, 2013

Two major companies were sentenced in late July over a major blaze in Leeds that took place in September 2010.

The two companies, Northern Gas Networks Operations Ltd and Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure) plc, were found by the Leeds Crown Court to have neglected basic health and safety procedures when installing gas mains during a construction project in a suburbs of Leeds.

The blaze took place on 3 September 2010 whilst both the companies were working on a construction project at the Ring Road in Beeston. Welding work near a gas main sparked a fire which caused twenty-foot flames to shoot into the sky, with the fire burning for over ten hours until firefighters brought it under control.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation was subsequently commenced into the fire and found numerous health and safety violations which may potentially have caused the blaze. The investigation therefore recommended that a prosecution be initiated into the two companies.

The matter came before the Leeds Crown Court on 31 July 2013. The Crown Court heard that there had been health and safety failings by the two companies, including in the planning, organisation and execution of the work – including the failure to consider and control the risks associated with welding near live gas mains.

Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented: “Companies have an obligation under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to make sure that they take reasonable practicable steps to ensure that their workplaces do not pose a danger to the health, safety or welfare of their workers or third parties.”

HSE Inspector Ian Redshaw commented after the sentencing: “Someone could have been killed or badly injured in this incident. Thankfully no one was hurt, but this was a severe fire that was a danger to workers and local people. There were numerous failings by both companies in the planning, organisation and execution of the work – most importantly the failure to consider and control the risks associated with welding near live gas mains.”

Redmans Solicitors are solicitors offering employment law advice and settlement agreement advice

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