A building company and its director have been fined for putting a childminder and the children in her care at risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Plastic and Wood Specialists Ltd built a structure, which the childminder used to shelter sleeping babies and young children, around the flue outlet for the boiler.

The structure partially enclosed the boiler flue making it unsafe, Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard. The flue should have been extended before the structure was completed.

A CO alarm sounded in the home and the gas supply was later disconnected by an emergency engineer from

National Grid.

If dangerous levels of carbon monoxide had built up when these vulnerable children were in the structure there could have been multiple fatalities.

Plastic and Wood Specialists Ltd pleaded guilty of Regulation 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and were fined £40,000 with £1,419.10 in costs. Company director Alan John Wager pleaded guilty to Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was given a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months with £1,419.10 in costs.

HSE inspector Jenna McDade said: “Builders should be aware of the dangers arising from enclosing or partially enclosing a flue. As with this case, they would be at risk of breaching gas safety regulations even if they are not gas fitters. It is important to understand the risks before undertaking the work.”

For more information and guidance relating to domestic gas safety, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/index.htm