Carbon monoxide poisioning

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Dave F, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. Dave F

    Dave F

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    Advice please on our legal position?

    Last month we bought a nice autosleeper Ravenna 10yrs old from a dealer. It came with a habitation check. All fine. Last Sunday we went away for our first week.

    Yesterday morning we put the heater on -first time- for a 1/2 hr. A short while later our badly arthritic 15 yr old dog lost her footing and collapsed. First thoughts were her age so wife set off to site warden to find local vet. But when she got back, she too was ill and short of breath. I was short of breath as well but had put it down to emotion of saying goodbye to our pet.

    Then we put 2 and2 together and realised we were all being gassed. Obviously we turned gas off opened windows and we all got outside, dog dizzy all morning but recovered eventually, wife terrible headache and nauseous all day ended up with trip to casualty 8 hours later where blood test confirmed we had been poisoned by CO but the blood levels now low enough to not need further treatment.

    Today we ran a test with a newly purchased CO alarm. It went off within 3 mins indicating a level of over 300 ppm (I.e. Life threatening levels)

    The gas check sheet says 32mb operating pressure, and passes for: operation of safety device, ventilation, flue type, flue spillage,flue termination, extended flue, and flue condition, and appliance safe to use. The report comes on a photocopied NCC gas check form but the dealer is not a member of NCC according to the NCC website.

    My question is before we approach the dealer what LEGAL rights have we with them?
    • does the above prove that they knowingly faked/falsified a gas check?
    • Should he be presenting reports on an NCC form?
    • Can we expect compensation for nearly killing the three of us
    • or simply that he gets the problem fixed?

    Any advice on (polite) ways to peruse this with the dealer please.

    Dave
     
  2. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    A phone call to trading standards might be the best start.
     
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  3. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    Any check of that type is the same as an MOT. It only says that the items tested were OK at the time of test, not that they will be OK 5 minutes down the road. For any comeback you will need some investigation to show that your problem was beyond any doubt existing at the time of the test.

    You really need to get someone independent, unfortunately at your expense initially, to investigate and establish the cause of the problem and then take it from there. If it turns out to be something that's obviously been there for a long time then you have somewhere to go. If it turns out to be something that looks like it could have happened yesterday then you probably don't.

    With regard to using a form from an organisation they aren't a member of that's none of your business. It would be for the NCC to persue if they feel they need to.
     
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  4. Electraglide

    Electraglide Funster

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    I would get a report from an independant Gas Safe engineer, make sure they have the relevant lpg and appliance qualifications. Falsifying a gas test report is a criminal offence, the engineers registration number should be on the certificate.
     
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  5. tofo

    tofo Funster

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    Contact gas safe register anyone working on gas for profit/living
    has to be registered

    They will contact HSE if required I believe

    Please check link below before you get help

    Also tell them you went to hospital

    http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help/report_an_illegal_gas_engineer.aspx
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
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  6. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    As has been said I think you should find the cause of the CO before deciding what to do next.

    The van is new to you .....is that a factor?.........was there a flue cover that needed removing?

    Thanks for posting if only to point out the need for CO detectors


    Your post reads that you lost your pet, I am sorry if it was due to the CO but hopefully there are no long term effects for yourselves

    Best wishes
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
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  7. Dave F

    Dave F

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    Is that the case for those who do gas safety checks in the course of habitation checks? - Is an approved habitation check person also gas safe registered? My research of their websites (and the National Caravan Council approved hab checkers) suggest not, very few claim to be gas safe engineers as well...

    Hab checks do not constitute work being done on a gas appliance, simply a check that it is operating properly. Theres a difference there I think...
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
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  8. Dave F

    Dave F

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    no it says she came back... " dog dizzy all morning but recovered eventually, "
     
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  9. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    it could be a potential criminal case, so make sure you get a test done and fully recorded. far too many cowboy operations out there pretending to do gas safety checks on leisure vehicles
     
  10. tofo

    tofo Funster

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    As far as I am aware before I could work on LPG for domestic
    Use I had to be certificated and that was only to make safe
    I am sure anyone selling their skills in gas work
    Has to be registered

    A call to gas safe would answer the question
    As I have been retired 5 years I couldn't be sure
    But rules rarely slacken they generally become strickter
     
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  11. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    As said above, get an independent test done to prove what went wrong, it might be a very unlucky coincidence

    Did you remove the cover from the heater vent outside?

    Glad you are all OK now, it could have been so much worse, but you didn't think to get a CO monitor, a tested system can still go wrong, sorry to be blunt but this should put in MH before anything else, same applies to your house, very similar risks there too

    No you will not be entitled to compensation for a near miss, why should you be?

    But if the tests carried out have not been done properly the offending engineer should be struck off and possibly jailed

    Another useful reminder for all of us to get a CO monitor tomorrow if we don't already have one, or two, MH and house (y)
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
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  12. Geordies

    Geordies Funster

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    Would the people who wrote out the safety cert. if proved to have not been qualified / in-competant, not be libel for the hurt the op and his wife (don't know about hurt to dog) suffered. After all they were ill enough to attend hospital.

    It certainly is an offence to work on gas equipment if you are not suitably qualified and registered. If the people who carried out the "safety check" pronounced that it was safe to use then they must have been qualified to do so. (Or not as the case may be proved).
     
  13. Electraglide

    Electraglide Funster

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    I would expect the gas safety check to include soundness/tightness testing of the complete system before any appliance checks are carried out. If doing this for"profit" then the engineer must be Gas Safe registered for the tasks being performed on that group of gas.
    I think there is still the anomally that a "competent person" can work on gas, if not for profit, If some thing went wrong that person would be deemed "incompetent" and prosecuted.
     
  14. Electraglide

    Electraglide Funster

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    I bought a ten year old Elddis motorhome a couple of years ago, loads of paperwork all carried out by the supplying dealer including six habitation checks. When I tried to service the fridge, I was Gas Safe registered, I got my chair out, removed the lower grille, nothing behind, only a plywood box. Google revealed that wheelarch fridges are made, did not know that. Elddis in their wisdom had put the grilles in for a normal fridge, boxed the lower grille in with plywood and fitted a wheelarch model, so impossible to service without removing fridge, and illegal as the bottom vent may as well not been there.
    When removing the fridge it was obvious that this was the first time it had been out since new, so it had never been serviced despite all the paperwork.
     
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  15. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    Forget GasSafe. You don't need to be registered to work on caravans.
     
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  16. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Just revisited my own comments, it is actually very unlikely there will be any cover on the heater vents, but there may be one on the water heater

    So glad you got out when you did, so lucky (y)(y):)
     
  17. Electraglide

    Electraglide Funster

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    Not if the OP requires a document that would stand up in court, this is a very serious incident. The OP is fortunate that it affected the dog first.
     
  18. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    For CO to enter the habitation area two conditions have to be met: an appliance has to be producing CO which only happens if there's incomplete combustion ("yellow flame"). And there has to be some way for the CO to escape into the vehicle interior. If your heater is of the type that is visible and mounted on a panel usually below the wardrobe door then it takes air for combustion from outside and underneath the van. It exhausts via a flexible flue pipe that can be seen passing up through the wardrobe and out via the roof.

    Incomplete combustion and leakage of the exhaust into the vehicle would both occur if the flue pipe within the wardrobe was damaged or, more likely, had come apart at its connection with the heater. This connection can be seen at the back of the heater underneath the blown air fan. You access this area via the floor of the wardrobe. If your heater is this type it might be worth a look?
     
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  19. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    So pleased that you're all safe and recovering from what must have been a very scary event.

    Knowing nothing about gas or the legalities involved, I think that in your position, and armed with some of the advice given above and maybe a bit of follow-up 'homework', I'd be talking to CAB &/or taking advantage of a solicitor's free first half-hour consultation, before tackling the dealer.
     
  20. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Darrell ( my son and Nemo on here ) is a Gas Safe fitter and had to spend a further £500 to complete the LPG part of the course.
    Out of all the gas Safe fitters we both know, he is the only guy around here who has the full certification to work on LPG systems.. so be careful who you ask !
     
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