Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Suspended prison sentence after faulty gas service

A Suffolk gas engineer has been handed an 18 week suspended prison sentence after carbon monoxide fumes from an incorrectly serviced gas-fired heater left a tenant unconscious.

Greg Ranson, 27, a Gas Safe registered engineer from Ipswich trading as Ranson Plumbing and Heating, of Downing Close, was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) following safety failings which led to the leak of the poisonous gas.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard on 12 August that Mr Ranson had been hired to service a gas-fired warm air heater at a ground-floor flat in Sproughton in April 2013 before William Tumilty, 59, moved in in May.

As the weather was mild, the heating system was not turned on until November 2013. However, once the heater was operating Mr Tumilty immediately fell ill, and did so again when the heating was used the next day.

On the third day, the heating came on automatically at 4.00pm and at about 7.00pm Mr Tumilty collapsed unconscious in the hallway. He regained consciousness at 7.45 am the next day. Hospital tests confirmed he had been poisoned by carbon monoxide.

The occupants of a maisonette directly above the flat – a young couple with a two year-old child – were also affected by the potentially lethal fumes and required hospital treatment.

HSE’s investigation established that the source of the carbon monoxide was the gas-fired heater. Examination revealed the heat exchanger assembly had been blocked by a fine dust which was preventing the harmful by-products of combustion escaping safely up the flue. The heat exchanger should have been inspected and cleaned during the service undertaken by Mr Ranson but did not appear to have been cleaned for several years.

Mr Ranson was given an 18 weeks prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay compensation totalling £1,500 to three victims, as well as costs of £813 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

After the case, HSE inspector Anthony Brookes said: “Fortunately cases like this are rare but they illustrate the care and diligence required on the part of qualified gas engineers to ensure gas-fired appliances are safe to use.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.