Cardiff gas engineers fined over carbon monoxide poisoning


BR Greenwell Heating & Plumbing Services, of Llantrisant, Cardiff, has pleaded guilty to a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. Partners Christopher Bates and Lewis John Rees were fined £5,000 in total and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.

Cardiff Magistrates’ Court heard that engineer John Courtney, from Penarth, was almost overcome by deadly fumes when he was sent to investigate a possible gas leak at Mount Stewart House in Mount Stewart Square on 22 October, 2010.

During the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, the court heard the partners at BR Greenwell Heating & Plumbing Services attended Mount Stewart House that day to repair an open-flue gas boiler. The men fitted a new gas control valve and left the premises.

The following day, Courtney, an employee of Wales & West Utilities, attended the site after a report of a gas smell. When he entered the cellar to investigate, he suffered the effects of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and was taken to hospital.

When the fire service measured CO levels, they found there was more than 16-times the maximum safe CO level over an eight-hour period.

HSE’s investigation found the gas valve was incorrectly adjusted, causing the boiler to produce high levels of carbon monoxide.

Both defendants were registered with the Gas Safe Register, but did not have an appropriate certificate under the Accredited Certification Scheme to confirm competency for work on the gas boiler.

HSE Inspector Hugh Emment said: “Since 2006, there have been three fatalities in the area because of registered gas installers working outside their confirmed competence.”