Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Errors Put Grandad's Life at Risk

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Errors Put Grandad's Life at Risk

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andy Lloyd

Safety failings by workmen left a grandad close to death, a court heard.

Ronald Wafer's home was filled with gas after the bungle by cavity wall workmen.

There was a three-day build-up of gas and the 71-year-old collapsed seconds after ringing his daughter, a call which saved his life.

Staff from Miller Pattison Ltd were working on 1,000 council houses on the Battle Hill estate in Wallsend for North Tyneside Council when the foul-up happened.

The company was fined pounds 7,500, ordered to pay pounds 1,500 compensation and pounds 2,656 costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety Act. North Tyneside Magistrates Court, heard two technicians:

Qbegan drilling into Mr Wafer's house in Blandford Way while he was out without consulting him or carrying out a proper inspection of the property or plans;

Qfailed to check his house for the position of his ventilation flue, wrongly assuming it was built like other homes on the estate;

Qposted a card through his door assuring him safety checks had been carried out.

Office staff at Miller Pattison's depot on Gateshead's Team Valley estate also failed to notice safety sheets had not been filled in properly on their return and the workers unwittingly put two holes in the flue which was connected to the warm air gas heater. But Mr Wafer's was one of a few houses on the estate with a flue built into the cavity itself and gas began emptying into the living room. He was found on the floor by daughter Carolyn Charlton. He was taken to North Tyneside Hospital but made a full recovery.

Mrs Charlton, 43, of Beckford Close, Battle Hill, Wallsend, said: "I thought it was someone making a funny phone call at first because dad couldn't speak properly.

"As soon as I realised it was him I flew along in the car. He was lying on the floor and although he was conscious, I was very, very worried. …

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