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Chimney Sweep Sentenced Over Carbon Monoxide Death

Expert Calls For Lessons To Be Learned From South Wales Tragedy


By Rob Dixon

A chimney sweep has been fined and ordered to pay costs after he failed to remove a bird’s nest from the chimney flue of a home in which a South Wales pensioner died.

Philip Jones of Porthcawl was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court in relation to the incident in September 2008, when he carried out work to clean the chimney at the Maesteg property owned by Derwyn Rees.

The next day, neighbours found Mr Rees dead and a subsequent inquest revealed he had died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Further investigation by the Health and Safety Executive and a solid fuel specialist found a bird’s nest remained inside the chimney and that Mr Jones failed to properly check whether any blockages had been cleared.

Sally Rissbrook, a specialist injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said it was vital that important safety lessons can be learned from this case.

She outlined: “A terrible tragedy of this kind is an awful example of the devastating impact that safety failings of this kind can have on both victims and their loved ones.

“Best practice should always be met in all types of work and that includes full and proper assessment that potential or significant risks have been identified and dealt with. This is a stark reminder of the importance of this issue and we hope this terrible incident is simply not repeated in the future.”

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