The recent double manslaughter prosecution of a gas fitter in Northern Ireland has heightened awareness among all employers and building owners as to their obligations in this area and the precautions that must be applied when maintaining boiler systems and engaging with maintenance contractors.
It is worth pointing out that the the prosecuted man himself did not install the boiler and flue that was the suject of this case, but was found guilty of the manslaughter of the two teenagers by virtue of deploying two inadequately qualified staff to conduct the works.
In addition to the 4 year prison sentence (of which 2 years were suspended), a fine of £19,000 was imposed for 19 separate health and safety offences relating to the incident that ultimately caused the death of two teenagers.
There are a few important points to remember:
- It is illegal for anyone other than a Registered Gas Installer (RGI), to install and/or service your boiler.
- Ensure your boiler is serviced annually by a fully qualified gas installer. Obtain a method statement and risk assessment for the works.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in locations where fuel burning appliances are present. Test them regularly.