Builder John Riva fined over carbon monoxide poisoning death

A builder has been fined £15,000 over health and safety failures which led to the death of a woman from carbon monoxide poisoning.

John Riva, 49, had been tasked with rebuilding a chimney at a house in Gifford, East Lothian.

However, he failed to clear it of debris, resulting in carbon monoxide from a living room fire leaking into the room and affecting three people.

Haddington Sheriff Court was told that Ceridwen Ross, 60, died as a result.

The Crown Office said the case showed that contractors had to be aware of the risks to others from their work.

The court was told that Riva carried out the work in August 2009.

‘Tragic incident’

But by October, three members of the Ross family, including Ceridwen Ross, had been affected by the fumes.

She died on 26 October 2009.

HSE inspector Gillian McLean added: “This was a tragic incident which could easily have been prevented if the accused had carried out simple and well-established tests to ensure the chimney was free from obstruction following building work he had carried out.

“These are standard and recognised tests well known to the building industry.

“We hope this successful prosecution will draw attention to these tests to ensure workers carry them out in the future in order to avoid similar devastating consequences.”