Campaigners call for Action following Corfu Carbon Monoxide Verdict!

The verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ and a finding that Thomas Cook breached their Duty of Care following an inquest into the deaths of Christianne & Robert Shepherd, presents the Travel Industry with a wake-up call on hotel safety!

The Jury revealed a number of short-comings in the hotel property and in particular the boiler and its maintenance, but the most important concerns raised by the Jury related to how the hotel property was assessed.

It is on the question of assessment of hotel accommodation that concerns HolidayTravelWatch and Co-Gas Safety and whilst they campaign on a wide range of safety issues, the Corfu case reveals the deficit in assessment on Carbon Monoxide.

Both Organisations consider that the time has come for Tour Operators & Hoteliers to embrace a better risk assessment model through:

  1. The Precautionary Principle;
  2. Adopting the EU ‘4 Components on Risk Management’
  3. Creating a broader based risk assessment conclusion model:
    1. Evidence based conclusions;
    2. Probability based conclusions, and
    3. Comparative based conclusions.

The Organisations support the current EU Green Paper proposals on Safety in Holiday Accommodation and now call for an urgent introduction of Regulation which incorporates the ‘Precautionary Principle’ issues detailed above.

Frank Brehany, the Consumer Director for HolidayTravelWatch states:

“In memory of Christianne & Robert Shepherd I say that there is no longer any valid argument to delay and import a greater protection for holidaymakers in their holiday accommodation. We must not let this important verdict pass by without firm and resolute action; light-touch regulation simply does not work!”

He concludes,

“I also support the sage words and comments of my fellow campaigner, Stephanie Trotter”.

Stephanie Trotter, The President of CO-Gas Safety states:

“I want to pay tribute to the courage and determination of Sharon, Paul, Neil and Ruth for fighting hard for this inquest to find out what went wrong so that others don’t have to suffer a similar terrible tragedy”

She adds,

“Money seems to be treated as much more important than life and death. This must change now”

She further adds,

“I’d like to thank the Coroner and jury for the care they have taken. It is only from learning from such deaths that we can work to prevent future deaths. CO-Gas Safety almost certainly has the best data in the UK but can’t get funding from wealthy gas charities. Most people don’t know about CO or how quickly it can kill. We want prime time TV warnings – all fuels, all appliances and all types of accommodation from bungalows to boats”

She concludes,

“Advice to people going abroad; Find out about CO – take a CO alarm to EN 50291 with you. Cost about £20. Not much to save a life. Why don’t airport shops sell CO alarms? We ask holidaymakers to inspect and report problems in their accommodation when they arrive and use a common sense approach when inspecting their holiday property – if something looks out of place, it probably is – complain!”.

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