£15k fine for builder whose work caused carbon monoxide poisoning death


A builder who failed to take the appropriate measures to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning while rebuilding a chimney has been prosecuted after three people became ill and one subsequently died.

Carbon monoxide alarm

The builder, was contracted to rebuild the chimney of a house in East Lothian, Scotland in August 2009 – but failed to clear the structure of debris.The householders subsequently suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning when fumes from a fire leaked into the living room.

Haddington Sheriff Court heard that three members of the family were affected by carbon monoxide poisoning and a 60-year-old man died in October 2009 as a result.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation resulted in the builder being fined £15,000 for breaches of health and safety. The Crown Office in Scotland is warning building contractors to be aware of the risk to others that their work might result in.

HSE inspector Gillian McLean said:

"This was a tragic incident which could easily have been prevented if the accused had carried out simple and well-established tests to ensure the chimney was free from obstruction following building work he had carried out – these are standard and recognised tests well known to the building industry.

"We hope this successful prosecution will draw attention to these tests to ensure workers carry them out in the future, in order to avoid similar devastating consequences."

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