Building company director escapes jail term

HSE investigated the case

HSE investigated the case

A director of a building company has been sentenced to 200 hours community service after a family of four were hospitalised following exposure to carbon monoxide (CO).

Manchester (Minshull Street) Crown Court was told that SJW Joinery & Building and director, Simon Wiley, had been contracted by the homeowners to carry out building work at the house in Stalybridge. A single storey extension had been erected around parts of the property.

The roof of that extension had been built over the existing flue to the boiler, leading to it venting into an enclosed space. The products of combustion of the boiler, including the toxic and odourless gas carbon monoxide (CO), built up in the extension and entered the house. Four people were taken to hospital with CO poisoning. All four made a full recovery.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation after National Grid notified it of the incident. The enquiry found that building plans relating to the work showed that risks of CO exposure had not been considered during the planning stage. The building work was subsequently carried out without the builders having considered these risks to the residents.

Simon Wiley pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 8 (1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and also Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to 200 hours community service and ordered to pay £4,298 costs.

SJW Joinery & Building pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 8 (1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was fined £6,000 with costs of £4,298.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector, Ian Betley, said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply ensuring that a suitable assessment was carried out and appropriate control measures put in place. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”