A change in health and safety legislation has been demanded after a tenant died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a newly-built block of flats where all the boilers were modern and had gas safety certificates.
Maria Ighodalo, 27, was a social housing tenant of London & Quadrant. She died on November 14, 2007, shortly after the block of flats in Upper Norwood, London, was completed.
Coroner Roy Palmer wrote to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Health and Safety Executive after the inquest, because of his concerns of a similar tragedy happening again.
The condensing boiler is a common type installed in millions of homes, he said.
Gas control valves on the boiler were pre-set in the factory with no requirement for further checks to be carried out on installation.
Mr Palmer suggested checks should be required on installation.
In a separate tragedy just months later, another tenant, Elouise Littlewood, died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a new-build flat that she co-owned with the Notting Hill housing association. Again, the development had a full set of gas safety certificates.
It is not a legal requirement for landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms, although London & Quadrant has done so as standard in all its new-build homes following Maria Ighodalo’s death.
Peter Todd of Hodge Jones Allen LLP, solicitor for the Ighodalo family, said: “In this case the jury found that the defect in the way the valve in the boiler had been set at the time of manufacture meant that when used it was liable to and did emit colossal amounts of carbon monoxide which were sufficient, despite adequate venting, to kill a neighbour.”
“It is a terrible tragedy for this family. About 40 people are killed every year in the UK by carbon monoxide and yet we surprisingly found there are no regulations which require a ECGA test to be done at installation and servicing which would help to prevent deaths.”
“I hope the Rule 43 recommendation will be put into law and save lives in the future.”