DGHP prosecuted for carbon monoxide safety failings

DGHPDumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) has been fined £8,000 for allowing renovations to take place that put residents at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard that the housing association had allowed chimneys to be removed from properties on two separate occasions. It was later discovered during the annual gas checks that the chimneys acted as the necessary gas flue for adjacent properties.

An investigation into both incidents by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that at the time the chimney removals took place not only was there was no procedure in place for the company’s workers to follow in respect of this type of work, neither were any risk assessments carried out in relation to the chimney removals which would have identified the risk to carbon monoxide poisoning for the residents.

DGHP pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) and was fined £8,000.

Director of housing services, Jayne Moore, said: “These incidents should not have happened. We fully appreciate the seriousness of this matter and the potential consequences of our actions.”

Ms Moore added: “As a responsible social landlord, we have had an excellent track record and have reported 100 per cent compliance of the most stringent of standards for many years.

“These recent incidents are hugely regrettable.”

Ms Moore said that the company took appropriate disciplinary action following an immediate internal investigation.

She added: “Processes are now in place to forensically manage and supervise this kind of work.

“They clearly define responsibilities when owner occupiers carry out works to shared chimneys and the use of unknown contractors appointed by owners.

“These processes have been tested, reviewed and independently audited and will be scrutinised, making it one of the most highly audited areas of work activity within our business.”

According to the HSE, around seven people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated.

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