Refurbishment work on garage roof made boiler unsafe… A fine of £75,000 was imposed on a self-employed builder as well as an order to undertake community service after the repair work he carried out at a couple’s home in Leyton led to their deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The builder had been working on the garage roof of the accident victims’ home during the months of February and March 2009. He had been employed to work on raising the roof but he was unaware of the affect this work would have on the gas appliances within the house.
On 20 July the Old Bailey heard that after raising the roof of the garage, the builder enclosed the flue of the boiler already there, which caused it to be left in an extremely unsafe and dangerous condition. The elderly couple who resided at the home were found dead on 21 April 2009 as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The HSE investigation into the accident revealed that if the flue of the boiler had not been enclosed then the elderly couple might still be alive today.
The builder pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. On top of the £75,000 fine he was also ordered to pay costs of £25,452 and asked to do 150 hours of community service.
HSE inspector Kevin Smith spoke after the hearing:
“This was a tragic incident that resulted in the unnecessary deaths of a retired couple in their own home as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Today’s prosecution graphically illustrates the dangers of builders carrying out work without considering the effects on gas appliances. The builder failed to comply with the standards and regulations relating to gas fittings, which resulted in work that left flues in a dangerous condition, and allowed a colourless, odourless, silent killer to enter the property.
The chief executive of Gas Safe Register, Paul Johnston also commented:
“In the right hands gas is safe, but badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out any work on your gas appliances, and remember that other types of work in your home may impact on the safe operation of those appliances.