A building company and its director have pleaded guilty to breaching Health and Safety regulations on a home extension project in the Manchester Crown Court. The company has been fined £6,000 with a further cost order of £4,298 and the director has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service and has to pay prosecution costs of over £4,000.

The company built a single storey extension for the homeowners, the roof of which extended over the existing flue to the boiler. No provision was made for the flue to divert emissions and it vented into an enclosed space. This resulted in a carbon monoxide built up in the extension which seeped into the house.

Four people were taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning and fortunately, all four made a full recovery. National Grid notified the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of the incident and this kick-started an investigation. HSE found that risks of carbon monoxide exposure had not been considered during the planning stage.

The lesson for business owners is to take great care to ensure that H&S matters are taken seriously. Risks should be identified at the earliest opportunity and measures must be introduced to address those issues.

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