HSE Gas Safety Warning as landlord is Prosecuted

Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association (SOHSA) on 2009-03-05 10:53:52

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning tenants and landlords in the Staffordshire area about potentially unsafe gas installations in tenanted properties. This warning follows the prosecution of Shahid Hussain, who manages a family business that owns and rents-out a number of properties in Burton-on-Trent. HSE started an investigation into the management of gas appliances in those rented properties after a single man, who lived alone, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his rented flat in Waterloo Street, in February 2006. Hussain was, on Friday 20th February, fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £44,500 costs by Stafford Crown Court. The court stipulated that Hussain has to pay the fine by 31st January, 2010 or face a prison sentence of 18 months. The Court heard that Mr Shahid Hussain was found to be managing a business letting 12 properties, of which nine had gas appliances fitted. Subsequent checks on the properties managed or owned by Hussain found that only two had current Landlord Gas Safety Certificates and a number of appliances were classified as either ‘Immediately Dangerous’ or ‘At Risk,’ putting more tenants at risk of death due to exposure to deadly carbon monoxide fumes or gas explosions. Shahid Hussain, pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and failing to maintain appliances or to keep a record of safety checks in properties in Byrkley Street, Waterloo Street and Needwood Street. Speaking after the case, HSE investigating inspector, Christia Killen, said: "Carbon monoxide is a killer. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it. On average 20 people are killed every year because of faulty gas appliances, as happened here to Gordon Cunningham. "Wherever it is appropriate, HSE will continue to take action against landlords who disregard their tenants’ safety. Hussain’s failure to manage the gas appliances in his properties put at least 18 tenants at risk from both carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosion over a significant period of time and the youngest of those at risk was only six months old. "Landlords must ensure that gas appliances installed in their rented properties are maintained and provided with a current Landlord Gas Safety Certificate. "I urge Landlords everywhere, if they have not already done so, to contact a registered gas fitter to make sure their gas appliances are safe. This case has highlighted that; if gas appliances are not maintained, people die. "HSE would also urge any private tenant, in a property with a gas appliance installed, to ensure that their landlord has provided them with a current gas safety certificate. "HSE inspectors are continuing to work in the Burton-on-Trent area to ensure that the importance of domestic gas safety is brought home to a community that has a history of problems with rogue landlords. HSE and East Staffs Borough Council jointly ran a ‘Gas safety awareness event’ in Burton town hall two weeks ago and 40 landlords from the Burton area displayed a genuine interest in ensuring the safety of their tenants by attending the seminar …..but it is almost certain that there are many others in the area who continue to risk the lives of their tenants." For further information on gas safety, contact the HSE Gas Safety Advice Line 0800 300 363 or visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic.

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