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A building company and one of its directors have been fined £15,000 after leaving two customers at risk of death or serious illness from exposure to carbon monoxide fumes.

Vikas Patel's company, Rushi Construction (UK) Limited, was building an extension to a home in Buckinghamshire between September and December 2009. As part of the extension involved building around the flue outlet of a gas boiler, Mr Patel attempted to use piping usually used for sewage, along with a washing machine vent hose in order to carry the flue outlet across the new room and out via a window. The work was unsuccessful, resulting in potentially lethal carbon monoxide gases being released into the house.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation that showed that no Gas Safe registered engineer had been employed to carry out the work.

Rushi Construction pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulations 4 and 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. The company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1000. Mr Patel was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £731.

A statement given by the HSE inspector said: "Mr Patel's clients could have died because of the unsafe situation he created in their home.  HSE will always take action when we see examples of such blatant disregard or ignorance, of regulations, guidance, and common sense."

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