The Gas Safety Management Conference 2013 has called for an increased awareness by senior management in social housing of corporate manslaughter responsibilities.
Keynote speaker David Kidney, who is the chair of the Carbon Monoxide All Fuels Action Forum and a former MP and DECC minister, said: “Carbon monoxide poisoning is a dangerous, silent threat.
“The response of all in social housing must be to be smart, effective and united. We need to raise awareness with both tenants and staff to help change behaviour. Gas-safety regulation needs to be extended to ensure that CO deaths and injuries are stopped.”
The issue of corporate manslaughter was addressed by Sally Roff of DAC Beachcroft, who has been involved with the preparation of responses to the Corporate Manslaughter Bill.
Ms Rodd said: “It is not a defence to say that you didn’t know about what is happening in your organisation or that you didn’t know of your responsibilities.
“A court would presume you have that level of knowledge. Only three companies have ever been convicted of corporate manslaughter, but one judge has made it quite clear that any company that was convicted, would have the level of fine set at such a height that is would ensure the company went out of business.”
The conference took place at The Belfry, Sutton Coldfield on Wednesday 24 April and was attended by senior managers with responsibility for gas safety working for Housing Associations and other organisations.
Organised by CORGI Technical Services, the Conference also brought together members of the Association of Gas Safety Managers and the Inter Authority Gas Forums.