Two Companies Plead Guilty for Sparking Gas Main Fire

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Northern Gas Networks Operations Ltd, known as United Utilities at the time, and Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure) plc of London in connection with the September 2010 fire.

Britain's Health and Safety Executive filed a successful case against two companies, Northern Gas Networks Operations Ltd, known as United Utilities at the time, and Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure) plc of London, for inadequately planning a welding job in September 2010. The welding involved a gas main and started a blaze that endangered residents of six nearby homes. Three workers managed to escape and London firefighters sprayed water on the houses to protect them, HSE reported July 31.

The two companies, which HSE contended ignored basic safety measures, pleaded guilty to a single offense each under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Northern Gas Networks Operations was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £8,453 in costs, while Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure) was fined £50,000 with £12,900 in costs. In all, they were ordered to pay about $161,000.

HSE's news release indicated MSI plc was supervising but had subcontracted parts of the project to two firms. The job was installing a new section of gas mains to the existing system, which required welding work to be carried out on the mains in an excavation. The gas mains had not been adequately isolated, according to HSE.

"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," HSE Inspector Ian Redshaw said after the sentencing. "There were numerous failings by both companies in the planning, organization and execution of the work -- most importantly the failure to consider and control the risks associated with welding near live gas mains. When undertaking high hazard activities such as this, it is essential that the proper steps are taken to ensure that risks are fully considered and then controlled. This type of activity is regularly undertaken in the gas industry and all the safety practices are well established and common knowledge in the industry. Thankfully incidents are rare, but if they do occur the consequences can be devastating."

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2019

    June 2019

    Featuring:

    • ASSP SAFETY 2019 PREVIEW
      New Orleans Networking
    • NATION SAFETY MONTH
      Heed These Summer Safety Tips
    • TRAINING
      Education, Skill Development, and Behavior Change
    • SAFETY MANAGEMENT
      What Good Looks Like
    View This Issue

Bulwark Quiz