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COCAA welcomes Wates’ carbon prosecution

The Carbon Monoxide Consumer Awareness Alliance has welcomed last month’s prosecution of Wates Construction for putting residents at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and is urging builders merchants and other industry players raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide.
Nigel Dumbrell, COCAA chair, says: “We note with interest the recent successful prosecution of Wates Construction and fully support the message from the HSE regarding the importance of checking the safety of gas flues following roofing work and the potential risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning which can occur, particularly in instances where extensions to properties and other similar work has been carried out.

“This case, and others like it, reinforces the importance of the entire heating, plumbing and construction sector having a good level of awareness of the dangers of CO and ensuring they have the training, experience and qualifications to work safely. This is not just an issue for those who install the appliances.”

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is aiming to increase awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning with the launch of Carbon Monoxide Alarm week, running from October 6 to 10. The week is an opportunity not just to increase sales of carbon monoxide alarms but also to get the safety message across.

The launch of the BMF Carbon Monoxide Alarm Week has led to the Autumn/Winter 2008 ‘Get an Alarm’ campaign being run by the COCAA.


· Wates Construction were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay nearly £2,500 costs after they were found guilty of putting residents of 11 bungalows in Birmingham at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The integrity of warm air flues, which vent through roof ridge terminals was found to have been disrupted in 11 of the bungalows, which could have caused a potentially fatal build-up of carbon monoxide.

A CORGI registered subcontractor warned Wates Construction, based in Leatherhead Surrey, to check the flues after work had been completed, but Wates failed to do this, the court heard.

Wates pleaded guilty to contravening Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Birmingham Magistrates Court.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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