Wates fined £640,000 for carbon monoxide blunder

Grant Prior 1 year ago
Share

Wates and one of its subcontractors have been sentenced after a project to remove cowls to redundant flue pipes resulted in carbon monoxide (CO) entering a residential tower.

Cambridge Crown Court heard how, on 19 December 2014, a mistake regarding the correct floor level resulted in a live flue being blocked.

Scaffolding was erected outside a 13-storey block of flats without marked lift levels and the external wall of the building had no markings to identify floor levels or flat numbers.

Operatives from subcontractor R J Fitters were given a diagram marked with the redundant flues and were expected to find the redundant flues amongst live flues.

The problem was only identified when a CO monitor activated and the homeowner and her son investigated. The damaged boiler was switched off before potentially any serious ill-health could occur.

An HSE investigation found that main contractor Wates and R J Fitters Ltd failed to manage the risk involved with the project.

Inspectors found that they could have marked the levels on the scaffold and the levels/flat numbers on the external wall of the building.

A supervisor could have marked the redundant flue pipes to ensure the correct cowls were removed and flue pipes blocked up.

The companies could have instead of blocking the redundant flue pipes put a cage around the cowls to ensure they did not fall.

Wates guilty to a safety breach and was fined £640,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,862.52.

R J Fitters Ltd also pleaded guilty and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,431.28

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Sandra Dias said: “It is the responsibility of both the principal contractor and subcontractor to ensure that safe systems of work have been identified and adopted.

“When there is risk of death to members of the public, the safe systems should be well thought through and robust.

“The risks associated with blocking a live flue could result in carbon monoxide entering properties and potentially killing all occupants”.

A Wates spokesperson said: “We very much regret this incident.  Safety is our highest priority and we are committed to ensuring that no individual is ever harmed or put at risk as a result of our work.

“We fully support all efforts by the HSE to make construction sites a safer place to work, and we have co-operated fully with the HSE’s investigation into this incident.

“On this occasion, however, despite our best efforts, we accept we fell short of the required standard.

“We immediately reviewed and enhanced our existing controls to help prevent a reoccurrence, and we remain committed to achieving the highest standard of health and safety moving forward.

“As part of our ‘We’re Safer Together’ Zero Harm campaign launched in 2016, we strive to achieve a working environment free from incident, ensuring that health and safety remains uppermost in the minds of both our employees and sub-contractors.”

Latest news

Hinkley Point MEH joint venture names boss

Graham Donaldson new MD for mechanical, electrical, heating and ventilation consortium
12 hours ago

Rail inspector in safety blast after another near miss

Workers leap for their lives from approaching train in north London
17 hours ago

Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower

Grainger agrees £77m deal for phase 2 at Exchange Square
21 hours ago

BAM checks-in with Manchester 17-storey office/hotel

£50m First Street scheme gets planning thumbs up
21 hours ago

RSK buys scaffolding and traffic specialists

Consultant also secures new financing deal as it plans to double current turnover of £200m
21 hours ago

Willmott Dixon strengthens main board

Construction and interiors chiefs bolster board for post-Brexit market
21 hours ago

Network Rail chief to lead Balfour gas and water arm

Matthew Steele was also programme director at Crossrail
21 hours ago

VolkerHighways to replace Skanska on Bath roads

Contractor will start £49m seven-year deal in April
2 days ago

Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters

New homes will be built in less than eight weeks
2 days ago

Big Yellow 20-floor flats and storage scheme approved

Work to start on new storage building next summer
2 days ago

Interserve plan to hand RMD Kwikform to lenders

Rescue plan talks to hand profitable equipment business to banks
2 days ago

BAM bags biggest order ever for Facebook UK HQ

King's Cross contract in London is worth over £200m
2 days ago

Hundreds caught in ISG Google site raid

Authorities find problems with paperwork on huge data centre project in Belgium
2 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
8 months ago

DfE to launch £2bn offsite schools framework

100 schools a year to be built using DfMA by 2023
2 days ago

Wates names new Midlands operations chief

Richard Woolmore joins from Bouygues where he was regional construction director
2 days ago

RGB Group starts £20m Cardiff student job

Near 400-bed student scheme will be built at Howard Gardens
2 days ago

Balfour Beatty delivers 2-3% construction margin goal

Leo Quinn hits phase two target of Build to Last turnaround plan
5 days ago

Firms admit price-fixing of concrete drainage products

Precast firms took part in cartel for seven years
6 days ago

£300m Edgbaston mixed-use scheme advances

Phase one office project edges closer at New Garden Square regen scheme
5 days ago

All JCB staff get £1000 Christmas bonus

Over 7,000 staff earn biggest Christmas bonus in a decade
5 days ago

Robertson appoints Morgan Sindall director

Scott Wilson is now Robertson's business development director
6 days ago

Beeston leisure centre out to bid

Bidding starts on cinema project in £30m shops and 130 homes scheme
6 days ago

Scape MD to head Perfect Circle consortium

Victoria Bambini to lead AECOM, Pick Everard and Gleeds joint venture
6 days ago

EastEnders set rebuild soars £27m over budget

NAO slams BBC for planning failures and procurement delays
6 days ago

Spurs stadium delays continue into New Year

Man Utd match will be played at Wembley next month as contractors work through Christmas
6 days ago

Speedy buys construction training business for £9m

Plant hirer buys Glasgow-based Geason in construction training push
6 days ago

Summer start for £25m Carlisle flood defence plan

Flood defence plan to be revealed three years after storm Desmond hit
6 days ago

Amco wins Dunbar railway station upgrade

Work to start next summer on new platform and footbridge
6 days ago

Architects win post-Brexit talent deal

Designers win concessions but construction still in skills turmoil
7 days ago

Contractor services