Landlord fined for not undertaking safety checks

John Marshall, the landlord of a property in Torquay risked the lives of his tenants by not undertaking annual safety checks on gas appliances in the property.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)  began inquiries when the tenant alerted them to the lack of a gas safety certificate for the property on Belgrave Road, Torquay.

During the investigation it became apparent that Torbay Council had been asking for a copy of a landlord’s gas safety record for the property since 2008 but that Mr Marshall had never sent them a copy.

In 2011 HSE requested a copy of the landlord’s gas safety record from Mr Marshall but he did not send a copy. In 2012 he had a new gas boiler installed at the property partly funded by Torbay Council and a landlord’s gas safety check should then have taken place in 2013 but Mr Marshall could not produce a copy of the inspection record to prove that this check had taken place.

The matter came to a head in November 2014 when the current tenant of the property raised concerns with HSE over a lack of a gas safety record and HSE served an Improvement Notice on Mr Marshall.

John Marshall of College Road, Newton Abbot pleaded guilty to a breach of gas safety regulations. He was fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,686.50.

HSE Inspector, Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Landlords have a legal duty to carry out annual gas safety checks which are there to protect their tenants from death or injury.

In this case, Mr Marshall ignored repeated requests to carry out the checks and to provide a copy of the safety record.”

Further information about landlords’ responsibilities for gas supply can be found on the HSE website.

If you are a landlord and want to understand how you can remain compliant, please see our residential pages.

Hugo Boss Fined £1.2 million for Health and Safety failings

Following from our article in June, we can now report that Hugo Boss has been fined £1.2m after a four-year-old boy died at one its shops.

Austen Healey was killed by an 18-stone (114kg) changing room mirror, which fell on him at the Hugo Boss outlet in Bicester Village in 2013.  Despite being rushed to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, where he underwent an emergency operation to relieve pressure on his brain, he sadly died four days later in hospital after his life-support machine was switched off.

Hugo Boss admitted to health and safety breaches at a hearing at Banbury Magistrates’ Court on 2 June for failing to secure mirror.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, defending, entered a guilty plea for the company to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

However, Barry Berlin, prosecuting on behalf of Cherwell District Council, told the court that the label should be sentenced at the crown court because the maximum fine at magistrates’ court was only £20,000.

He suggested the case should be sentenced in the crown court where the recommended starting point of a £100,000 fine per offence could be imposed or even exceeded.

“Plainly this a very serious matter relating to a child aged four-and-a-half who on June 4 2013 was struck on the head by a seven feet tall, 18 stone free standing three-way mirror.  It wasn’t fixed to the wall despite its own requirements. We say, bearing in mind that the injuries the child sustained resulted in his death, that this is a case that should be dealt with in the crown court.”

 

An inquest concluded the mirror should have been fixed to a wall, while coroner Darren Salter described the incident as “an accident waiting to happen”.

Sentencing on 4 September, Oxford Crown Court Judge Peter Ross said Hugo Boss had a “corporate responsibility”, and he wanted to ensure the issue went to the “very top of the company”.

He said it “would have been obvious to the untrained eye” that the mirror posed a risk, adding that it was “nothing short of a miracle” that it had not happened sooner

Meet Chris Fitzgerald our Fire Safety Expert

We are committed to providing our services via the leading experts working within the Health and Safety, Fire Safety, Water Safety and Asbestos Management.  Chris Fitzgerald speaks about his experience within the Fire Safety Industry.

Fire Safety legal compliance:
As I spent a lot of time on the prosecution side in the LFB, I have a practical knowledge of legal compliance for fire safety. I have represented many clients when appealing against Prohibition Notices, Improvement Notices and Enforcement notices from their local authority fire brigades. So far, I have had a 100% success rate and have saved clients a lot of grief! money and inconvenience.
My ‘finest hour’ came when I attended a meeting of the Estates Management Committee at Inner Temple London where all the top Judges and Barristers have their chambers. I explained to all these High Court Judges, etc., how the fire safety law did apply to them and that they were not exempt from its requirements.

 

Fire Safety in general:
My areas of specialisation cover places of education, residential care homes, Government owned or occupied premises, Petroleum licensed premises and storage and use of hazardous materials.

 

Construction:
As a fully qualified CDMc (Construction Design and Management Co-ordinator) I am very well qualified to deal with all aspects of fire safety and Health .
& Safety on construction sites.

 

Tunnel construction:
Worldwide, there are only a handful of fire safety consultants qualified and experienced in the subject of fire safety in tunnelling construction and I am one of them!

 

Special buildings:
I have worked extensively on fire safety at the British Museum. Whilst in the LFB, I devised the fire safety strategy for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, which was built using 16th century building methods and materials but had to comply with current fire safety standards.

We are privilidged to work with chris and proud that he is able to share his experience and skills with you, to ensure you receive the level of Fire Safety service you need.

Find out more about our Fire Safety services.

Quantum Compliance at MIPIM UK October 21-23 2015

MIPIM UK is the number one Marketplace for property professionals.

This years event is set to be the UK’s largest exhibition and conference for property professionals, providing a market place for UK players and international investors to meet, discuss projects and opportunities and do business.

We are proud to be attending and are looking forward to three days of meeting many of you there!  With many exhibitors, conferences, networking opportunities and award ceremony, this years event is set to be an exciting, info filled three days!

We established Quantum Compliance to provide excellence throughout all services provided.  We are looking forward to showcasing our services and providing you with an opportunity to understand more about who we are.

 

Where to find us

We will be in Zone B, stand B13 (3780).  See you there.

If you would like to schedule us into your time at MIPIM, request a meeting with us.

Download the MIPIM Brochure
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Escalator death

Staff at a department store in China had noticed that the floor was loose five minutes before a woman was sucked into an escalator and crushed to death.

Video footage taken minutes before Xiang Liujuan, 30, fell to her death shows employees at the Anliang department store in Jingzhou, Hubei province, discovering the problem at the top of the escalator.

Chen Guaxin, director at Jingzhou Work Safety, a government body, told a press conference;

“Five minutes before the accident, staff discovered that the shaft cover on the end of the ascending escalator was loose,”

The women who found the loose flooring informed the management, but did not shut down the escalator.

Shenlong Elevator, the company that produced the machine, has also been criticised by the government.  According to the report, its shafts were prone to come loose.

The Xinhua news agency, quoting the government, said that 5 per cent of elevators and escalators inspected this year had been found to have problems.

Since the death of Ms Xiang on Sunday, at least two more incidents have occurred. In one, a child got his arm trapped in an escalator’s handrail and might need to have it amputated; in the other a woman was killed in a lift after it suddenly began to rise as she walked out, trapping her head.

North Devon housing company prosecuted again for safety failings

A South-West housing firm, North Devon Homes Ltd, has been sentenced after capping off a chimney at one of their occupied properties despite the chimney being in use.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which prosecuted North Devon Homes Ltd at Barnstaple Magistrates’ Court on 13 August.

The court heard North Devon Homes Ltd employees were investigating damp at a property at Church Lake, Landkey and in an attempt to solve the problem removed a chimney and tiled over the roof leaving the chimney terminating within the home’s loft despite that fact the chimney was being used to flue the gas fire and gas boiler.

Several weeks after the work was completed the tenant went into the loft and found that there was a very strong unpleasant smell.  At around this time the tenant’s carbon monoxide alarm was also sounding. The tenant called the emergency gas services who came to their home and classed the situation as ‘immediately dangerous’ meaning the situation could be an immediate risk to life.

North Devon Homes Ltd of Westacott Road, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £833 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said:

“This was an incredibly dangerous situation where gas appliances were left to pump potentially poisonous and fatal gasses into the loft space of a home instead of to outside the property.  Whenever a chimney is removed or capped careful checks should be taken to ensure that the chimney is not being used and cannot be used in the future.

Proper control by North Devon Homes Ltd and clear work instructions would have prevented this dangerous situation from arising and putting the lives of their tenants at risk.”