Real-life H&S incidents

Housing association prosecuted for safety failings

Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
9th January 2017
Fire Alarm

A housing association has been prosecuted after allowing renovations to take place that put residents at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard that Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership Limited, Scotland’s second largest registered social landlord, had allowed chimneys to be removed from properties on two separate occasions. It was later discovered during the annual gas checks that the chimneys acted as the necessary gas flue for adjacent properties. 

HSE’s investigation into both incidents revealed that at the time the chimney removals took place not only was there was no procedure in place for the company’s workers to follow in respect of this type of work, neither were any risk assessments carried out in relation to the chimney removals which would have identified the risk to carbon monoxide poisoning for the residents. Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) and was fined £8,000.

Around seven people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated.

Phoenix Comments:

"It is always frustrating to report on so many cases of prosecutions or deaths due to inadequately installed or unserviced gas appliances. Landlord have a specific duty to ensure gas appliances, fittings and flues are maintained and serviced at least annually. Should any work be undertaken that may affect the boiler or flues, a risk assessment must be conducted. This is such a simple activity that could save 50 lives a year. It is recommended that carbon monoxide monitors should be fitted to warn the occupant of any potential gas leaks”.