Fines for company and director over dangerous boiler work
Published: 21 Aug 2019

A building company and its director have been fined for unsafe construction work around a domestic gas boiler that has resulted in a dangerous escape of gas. 

Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard how the company, MD Building Contractors Ltd, was contracted to undertake construction work at a home in Aston, Birmingham. The work was an extension to the kitchen which was to take place between July and August 2017.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that prior to the work actually commencing, there was a pre-existing gas boiler that had been located in the kitchen, with its flue going out through the rear wall. During the work the original flue outlet was removed, and an external wall was built around it. This had the effect of completely enclosing the flue inside the wall with no direct external exit point that would allow the boiler to safely vent outside.

This meant the family of six living in the house were being exposed to the risk of inhaling the products of the boiler burning, including Carbon Monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas with no smell or taste.

Manjit Singh Dhaliwal, the Director of Manor Road, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, was fined £2,000, and ordered to pay costs of £431.50.

MD Building Contractors pleaded guilty to breaching Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations SI 1998/2451, were fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £513.10.

HSE Principal Inspector Tony Mitchell said "every year, around seven people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated".

"Manjit Singh Dhaliwal was negligent in his duties as sole director to ensure that during refurbishment of the property that existing gas fittings were not adversely affected".

"All gas work must be done by registered Gas Safe engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life".