A gas engineer from West Bromwich has been prosecuted after a family of five were taken to hospital following exposure to carbon monoxide.

The two adults and three children aged two, nine and 11 were taken ill on 22 January 2011, Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard.  The family housekeeper was also taken to hospital.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Graham Slater for carrying out gas safety checks at the bungalow in Squirrel Walk, Little Aston, Staffordshire, on 20 February 2009 and 1 July 2010, despite not being fully qualified.

The family all suffered from vomiting and severe headaches and two of the adults who became ill, collapsed after losing consciousness. They were given oxygen therapy by a paramedic and discharged from hospital several hours later.

HSE’s investigation into the incident discovered Mr Slater had not followed technical guidance from the Gas Safe Register when examining the warm air heater.

The court also heard that while he was a Gas Safe registered engineer, he was not qualified to work with warm air heaters.

Graham Slater, of Radway Road, today pleaded guilty to two breaches of Regulation 3(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs.

HSE inspector Wai-Kin Liu said after the case:

“Every year, around 20 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning, invariably due to gas appliances not being properly serviced and checked for safety.

“Many more become ill with long-term health problems and it is fortunate that the people involved in this incident have all made a full recovery.

“Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, breathlessness, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, vomiting and loss of consciousness.

“Although Graham Slater is on the Gas Safe Register, he is not qualified or competent to work with warm air heaters and he should never have checked this appliance.

“Anyone who hires a gas engineer to carry out work in their property should always ask to see their Gas Safe Register identity card and check the type of appliances they are qualified to work on.”

Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, said:

“Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries an identity card which not only confirms who they are but also lists the kinds of appliance they are qualified to work on.

“Not every engineer can work on every kind of appliance so always check the card, and call us on 0800 408 5500 if you have any doubt.”

More information about the dangers of carbon monoxide is available from http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/co.htm