York & North Yorkshire

Yorkshire Water Tadcaster fire death 'was accidental'

Police can outside a water treatment works
Image caption Mick Jennings died in hospital after the blaze at the sewage treatment plant on Oxton Lane in Tadcaster

The death of a worker who suffered fatal burns at a water treatment plant was "accidental", an inquest has found.

Mick Jennings, 55, was using an angle grinder to remove bolts on a valve at a Tadcaster Yorkshire Water site in 2015.

The hearing at Selby Civic Centre was told he was working in a 11ft (3.4m) deep well when oxygen leaked into the tank and reacted with sparks.

Coroner Robert Turnbull said he was satisfied sufficient changes had been made to help prevent any future deaths.

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Mr Jennings had worked for Yorkshire Water for eight years as a mechanical fitter in an engineering team.

A risk assessment form had been filled and a permit had been granted for the work to be carried out on the Oxton Lane site.

'Near miss'

David Jones, who was working with Mr Jennings at the time, previously told the inquest they had "no reason to suspect it was an oxygenated or explosive environment".

The jury heard dangerous levels of oxygen had been found at the plant in 2014, but no action had been taken to find out where gas was coming from.

Coroner Turnbull said changes to health and safety operations at Yorkshire Water now included significant "near miss" incidents being automatically reviewed.

A Health and Safety Executive inquiry into Mr Jennings' death is ongoing.

In a statement, Yorkshire Water chief executive Richard Flint said: "Mick was a popular colleague and his tragic death has had a profound impact on everyone at Yorkshire Water."

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