Prosecution After Residents Were Hospitalised Following Carbon Monoxide Leak
One of the UK's largest property service organisations has been ordered to pay more than £300,000 in fines, costs and compensation after seven people were hospitalised when carbon monoxide (CO) fumes leaked into their homes.
Apollo Property Services Group Limited, now part of Keepmoat Group, was sentenced in December after a two week trial heard how seven residents were exposed to CO because flues, or boiler ventilation shafts, servicing the flats were obstructed during roof refurbishment work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Apollo knew that some flues may still be serving boilers in the properties at the Abbey Road Estate in Camden, between February and March 2008, but did not have an adequate system for inspecting them meaning work continued without checks being carried out.
The Old Bailey also heard that the company failed to ensure work was adequately supervised and did not ensure that workers were familiar with safe working practices in relation to gas flues or were aware of the risks.
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 at Work Act 1974.
Commenting on the case, legal expert Sally Rissbrook, said: “Property maintenance companies have a duty to ensure that buildings are safe for those that live and work within them and this incident highlights where clear failings have been made.
“Carbon Monoxide is a deadly gas that can have devastating consequences when people are exposed to it and property companies are well aware of the importance of protecting residents from it.
“To maintain safe standards workers must be fully trained and supervised to ensure the correct procedures are carried out to keep others safe.
“Accidents of this nature can be avoided and it is absolutely vital that lessons are learned from this to ensure that all companies are taking the vital maintenance steps they need to.”