Apollo group fined over £300,000 for poisoning 7 with carbon monoxide
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Communities, Housing, Legal, Regulation
Carbon monoxide boiler testing
One of the UK's largest property service companies has been fined £301,582 after its actions led to seven people being hospitalised by carbon monoxide (CO) fumes that escaped into their homes.
Apollo Property Services Group Limited, now part of Keepmoat Group, was yesterday sentenced for the incident that occurred between 18 February and 18 March 2008 on the Abbey Road Estate, Camden.
During a two-week trial, the Old Bailey's Central Criminal Court heard that the seven residents, none of whom want to be named, were exposed to CO because boiler flues servicing the flats were obstructed during roof refurbishment work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Apollo knew that some of the flues may still have been serving boilers in the properties. However, the work continued regardless without an adequate system for inspecting them.
The company also failed to ensure that the work was adequately supervised, and did not ensure that workers were familiar with safe working practices in relation to gas flues or were aware of the risks.
The company was fined £165,000, ordered to pay £117,582 in costs and a total of £19,000 in compensation after being found guilty of breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Tony Leach, Health & Safety Director for Apollo, said: "We fully accept the decision and would like to take this opportunity to once again apologise unreservedly to the families affected by this incident.
"Safety is our number one priority and we have carried out a full review of our procedures and training to ensure that all staff, and subcontractors, working on our schemes meet the high standards we expect."
HSE's Inspector, Helen Donnelly, said: "Despite the client's adviser warning the company to consider the risk of blocking or covering flues at the start of the refurbishment project, the company did not assess the risks to residents or have a safe system to ensure flues serving live boilers were not obstructed.
"Moreover, as part of one of the UK's largest property service organisations, Apollo Property Services Group Limited is very experienced in refurbishing housing estates so there is no reason for this incident to have happened."