04 April 2013
Commercial landlord to face carbon monoxide poisoning claims?
Claims for compensation may be launched against a commercial landlord after two employees contracted carbon monoxide poisoning at one of his properties.
The duo worked at a blinds showroom in Blackburn and eventually had to be taken to hospital in December 2010 after several months of suffering with nausea and headaches.
Medical examinations carried out on the men established that they both had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their bloodstream and, as a result of this issue, one of the professionals had to be kept in overnight for treatment with oxygen.
Indeed, the proportion of the gas in this individual's blood was more than three times the regular level, even though he was tested several hours after he last came into contact with the potentially-lethal substance.
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the proprietor of the business unit, Mohammed Asghar, failed to make sure that the gas heater he provided for the blinds showroom was safe.
The equipment was labelled immediately dangerous when it was inspected by an engineer from the National Grid and it was subsequently taken out of use and replaced with a safe and fully-working system.
During a case heard at Blackburn Magistrates' Court, it emerged that the men became worried that they may have been exposed to carbon monoxide when they looked up the symptoms they were suffering from on the internet.
Mr Asghar subsequently admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £750 for his negligence.
Stuart Kitchingman, inspector at the HSE, said it was only due to good fortune that the workers avoided death, adding that customers who visited the blinds showroom while the faulty heater was in place were also put at risk.
"Landlords of commercial properties should make sure that contracts clearly state who is responsible for maintaining gas boilers and appliances so that everyone is aware of their responsibilities," he added.
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Posted by Chris Stevenson