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    Gas boiler flue vented carbon monoxide into property

    PJW Property Developments (Phillip Whittaker T/A) has been fined for illegal and dangerous gas work in Somerset, which could have led to a young family being killed by poisonous carbon monoxide fumes.

    Phillip Whittaker was contracted by the householders to build an extension to a house in April 2012. During the work he moved a boiler and pipework and left the existing gas boiler flue in its original position allowing carbon monoxide to be vented into the property instead of outside.

    Mr Whittaker was prosecuted by HSE at Yeovil Magistrates (22 August) after investigation revealed he was not a member of the Gas Safe Register and therefore so not legally qualified to carry out gas work.

    Almost impossible for combustion products to escape to atmosphere

    Phillip Whittaker, who trades as PJW Property Developments, of Redlands, Bratton, Westbury in Wiltshire, pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mehtaab Hamid, said:

    “Mr Whittaker’s dangerous work could have caused the family serious health issues and ultimately could have led to their death.

    He was not competent to carry out gas work and was not a member of the Gas Safe Register.

    He installed gas pipework using unsafe practices and by building the extension over the boiler and flue, made it almost impossible for the products of the combustion process to escape to atmosphere, creating an immediate danger within the property.

    Although no serious injury occurred, the family have been left distressed by their experience.”

    Russell Kramer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said:

    “Unsafe gas work can be the cause of fire, explosion, gas leaks and exposure to deadly carbon monoxide. That is why you should always use a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries an ID card showing who they are and the work they are qualified to carry out and you can find and check any engineer or business by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or calling 0800 408 5500.”


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