Failure to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure Lands Company with Fine

Willmott Partnership Homes Ltd was fined last week after exposing the public to carbon monoxide fumes.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard how, on 11 December 2014, a number of gas installations were found to be either immediately dangerous or at risk following the report of a smell of gas by the resident of a flat in Hamilton House in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Willmott Partnership Homes Ltd built the flats several years before the incident, and in 2014 remedial work was required on an external wall. During the demolition and reconstruction of the wall by the company, live flues of gas boilers were removed damaged and blocked, exposing the residents to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

As the principal contractor, Willmott Partnership Homes were found guilty of not ensuring that an adequate system of work was in place to manage the risks of working around the live gas flues.

The company, which reported profits of £18million last year, was formerly called Willmott Dixon Homes Ltd.

Willmott Partnership Homes Ltd of Incknield Way, Letchworth Garden City pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £1.25 million and charged an additional £23,972.33 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “Risks from gas installations, including those related to carbon monoxide, need to be managed by all during refurbishment. This incident could have been avoided if the company had implemented a safe isolation system for the live boilers.”

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