Wates Construction Ltd fined £7,000 for putting householders at risk of carbon m

Thursday, 4th Sep '08 at 10:09

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning construction firms to check the safety of gas flues, following roofing work, after the occupants of 11 bungalows in Birmingham were put at risk of carbon monoxide entering their loft spaces.

Every year, approximately 25 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained.  

This warning comes after Wates Construction Ltd, of Station Approach, Leatherhead, Surrey, was fined £7,000 with £2,491 costs by Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, on Friday 18 July 2008.

Prosecution followed roofing work carried out by subcontractors working for Wates Construction Ltd, the principal contractors for the works, on a number of bungalows in Rednal Road, Birmingham, between 30 June and 13 September 2006. The integrity of warm air flues, which vent through roof ridge terminals, was discovered to have been disrupted in 11 of the properties, potentially causing a build-up of lethal carbon monoxide in the loft space.

Another CORGI registered subcontractor had warned Wates Construction Ltd about the need to check the flues after the roofing work had been completed. Wates Construction Ltd failed to do this.

Speaking after the case, HSE investigating inspector Mike Ford said:

"The dangers of damaging flues are well known in the building and refurbishment trade. Such dangerous work, as that seen in Rednal Road, puts lives at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning."

Wates Construction Ltd pleaded guilty to contravening section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

  1. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states:                     
    "It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety"
  2. The Health and Safety Commission is responsible for health and safety regulation in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive and local government are the enforcing authorities working in support of the Commission. See http://www.hse.gov.uk for more information. For more information about hazards at work and occupational health, see http://hse.gov.uk/pubns/ohindex.htm.
  3. HSE has recently completed a competition  to appoint a provider to run a new gas installer registration scheme from April 2009.  Until then, CORGI is the only body approved to register competent gas installers.
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