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July 13, 2012

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Fake data a factor in gas-safety failings, claims council

A London borough council must pay almost £100,000 in fines and costs for failing to carry out gas-safety checks at nearly 300 emergency housing properties.

In July 2009, the HSE received a complaint from a tenant at a multi-occupancy emergency hostel in Wandsworth Road, London, that a gas-safety certificate was unavailable. The hostel was owned by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

Checks by HSE inspectors found that a gas-safety record for the property, which contained several gas cookers and other appliances, had expired 15 months previously. The HSE also learned that a total of 297 council-owned emergency accommodation properties had received no annual gas-safety check between April 2008 and July 2010.

The HSE visited 20 of these properties, all of which were found to contain gas cookers or boilers that should have been checked at least every 12 months. The council immediately arranged for gas-safety checks to be carried out at all of its properties that were overdue inspections.

HSE inspector Nicola Maisuria said: “As a landlord, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is legally responsible for the safety of its tenants in relation to gas safety. In failing to carry out the required annual gas-safety checks on appliances in its properties, and maintain records of each safety check, the authority could have exposed tenants to additional potential risks of carbon-monoxide poisoning.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Council appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 11 July and pleaded guilty to nine separate breaches of reg.36(3)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. It was fined £83,600 and ordered to pay full costs of £15,553.

In mitigation, the council told the court that a member of staff had purposely entered inaccurate data in its computer systems, which led it to believe the properties had undergone annual gas-safety checks. It has now updated its systems so management can monitor all data that is submitted.€

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11 years ago

Prosecution for the individual who falsified the records? HASWA S7??

11 years ago

Do Gas safety regs apply to factories using a Gas burner kiln to a temperature of 850 degrees or does this come under a different regulation?

11 years ago

At face value, HSE appear to have targeted an employer instead of homing in on one or more of their staff who have forged records.