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PROPERTY SERVICES GIANT FACES MASSIVE PENALTY

Obstructed boiler flues exposed residents to carbon monoxide danger

Apollo Property Services Group Limited (now part of Keepmoat Group and one of the UK’s largest property service organisations) has been ordered to pay more than £300,000 in fines, costs and compensation.

The penalty follows an incident in which seven people were hospitalised after carbon monoxide (CO) fumes escaped into their homes in NW London between 18 February and 18 March 2008.

The Old Bailey heard during a two-week trial that seven residents were exposed to CO because boiler flues servicing the flats were obstructed during roof refurbishment work.

HSE investigators found that Apollo knew some flues may still be serving boilers in the properties yet failed to have an adequate system for inspecting thereby them leading to work continuing without checks being carried out.

The company also failed to ensure that the work was adequately supervised and that relevant workers were familiar with safe working practices in relation to gas flues or were aware of the risks.

Client adviser warned company to consider flue blocking risk

Apollo Property Services Group Ltd, of Church Street, Waltham Abbey, was fined £165,000, ordered to pay £117,582 in costs and a total of £19,000 in compensation after being found guilty of breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc. at Work Act 1974.

After sentencing, HSE’s Inspector Helen Donnelly said:

“Despite the client’s adviser warning the company to consider the risk of blocking or covering flues at the start of the refurbishment project, the company did not assess the risks to residents or have a safe system to ensure flues serving live boilers were not obstructed.

Moreover, as part of one of the UK’s largest property service organisations, Apollo Property Services Group Limited is very experienced in refurbishing housing estates so there is no reason for this incident to have happened.”

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