What is HSE?
The Health and Safety Executive is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain. HSE prosecutes the breach of Gas Regulations. This doesn’t mean you can leave the HSE to bring your case claiming damages for personal injuries, for example from being poisoned by carbon monoxide because whether you were injured or not by the breach is not strictly relevant. However, a successful prosecution by the HSE can be helpful to your claim for damages.
However, different considerations apply so you need to consult a lawyer very soon after you have suffered your injury but the overwhelmingly important issue is to preserve the evidence. Think CSI on the TV!
So don’t let anyone touch anything especially not the gas appliance or any pipes etc. except to turn them off and disconnect the gas. DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE TO SERVICE THE BOILER OR DEAL WITH THE FLUE ETC. IF YOU MAY WISH TO RELY ON THE FACT THAT THE CARBON MONOXIDE HAS COME FROM THE BOILER OR ITS FLUE. You may not wish to sue but if you have been poisoned by carbon monoxide you will not be thinking clearly and you need time to consider your options.
What is RIDDOR?
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations
There is a duty on the registered gas installer to report a gas incident* to HSE. A gas incident basically means a leak of unburned gas or emissions of carbon monoxide and/or other products of combustion (i.e. what comes out of the boiler or other appliance after the gas has been burned). See https://extranet.hse.gov.uk/lfserver/external/F2508G1E
*Gas incidents http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/reportable-incidents.htm#gas as follows:-
‘Distributors, fillers, importers & suppliers of flammable gas must report incidents where someone has died, lost consciousness, or been taken to hospital for treatment to an injury arising in connection with that gas. Such incidents should be reported using the online form.
Registered gas engineers (under the Gas Safe Register,) must provide details of any gas appliances or fittings that they consider to be dangerous, to such an extent that people could die, lose consciousness or require hospital treatment. The danger could be due to the design, construction, installation, modification or servicing of that appliance or fitting, which could cause:
- an accidental leakage of gas;
- incomplete combustion of gas or;
- inadequate removal of products of the combustion of gas.
Unsafe gas appliances and fittings should be reported using the online form.’
HSE will then consider what to do (e.g. whether or not to investigate or prosecute). HSE will inform the interested parties (e.g. registered gas installer or engineer, consumers, victims/survivors).
If you as a consumer/CO victim/survivor disagrees with this decision we suggest you read:-
http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/disagree-with-decision.htm discuss the issue with your own solicitor and contact CO-Gas Safety.