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AmberMagic

British Gas cause damage resulting in injury

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I've never done this before so please bear with me if I provide too little, or too much, information.

 

In December my Parent's hot water cylinder sprung a leak,

they had home care with British Gas so called them out.

 

An engineer came that night to drain the tank

and another engineer came the next day to do the repair.

 

The work they completed was done, to our limited knowledge, correctly.

However, the second engineer failed to store the loft ladder away properly

- he failed to insert the locking pin to prevent the ladders from sliding apart.

 

When my Father opened the loft access panel the following week,

one of the ladders rapidly descended hitting him in the face before hitting the wall

(damages to his person, spectacles, wall, picture,etc).

 

My father is 82 and having had a stroke less than a year prior to this date had no intentions of going into the loft,

he was opening the panel for me (as at 5'3" I couldn't reach it).

 

I inspected the ladder and it didn't appear to have been damaged in any way,

but the only way I could examine its moorings was to climb the ladder itself to look at the fitting in the loft.

 

Unfortunately, whilst I was climbing the ladder (before I could see where the ladder was fitted)

: it buckled and completely collapsed taking me with it.

 

I landed flat on my back on the ladder - luckily I got away with only bruising, a concussion and whiplash

(although it damage some items I had on my person).

 

Originally we contacted British Gas to let them know what had happened in the hope of preventing it from happening to someone else who wouldn't be as lucky as I was (the hospital advised I was lucky not to have broken my neck).

 

The attitude of those my Parents' spoke to at British Gas soon changed this opinion.

At no point in their communication did British Gas return any telephone calls,

and on top of this my Parents' were told that they could only contact the person dealing with their complaint,

to whom they were only provided a mobile phone number as a point of contact (my parents are both in their 80's and although they have a mobile it is viewed as for emergencies, which left them calling from a landline at great expense).

 

A letter was supposedly sent but was never received,

even when resent (we eventually got it by email).

 

In fact,

no one paid any attention to my parents complaint until my Mother asked them what would have happened if it had been their engineer that fell, instead of me.

 

British Gas have now referred this to their legal team,

who have stated that my Father is liable for my injury's as he should have gone up the ladder to check it was safe for me to use (even though he is 82 and suffering with balance issues as a result of his stroke).

They also state that there were 2 engineers present when the ladder was put away and that they stored it correctly.

 

Firstly,

there was only one engineer assigned to the job and present when the ladder was put away

- two other engineers did visit the property earlier in the day to deliver parts

but neither was in attendance when the ladder was stored away.

 

Additionally, we still have the damaged loft ladder in the garage

and, even in its damaged state, when the locking pin is inserted it cannot open on its own.

 

Can anyone provide some advise on where we stand with this as it is making my Parents I'll with the worry.

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Hi sorry you haven't had any replies yet please be patient I am sure the caggers will be along.

 

As your father is 82 make sure with his energy providers to ask them (if not already done) to add him to there Priority Services Register. (check their website for information)

 

Now with the above is your father on British Gas Priority Services Register?

 

I assume one of the two Engineers contracted by British Gas needed to access the Loft to carryout this repair, did your father give them permission to access the loft using the loft ladders?

 

Did the engineers ask about the operation of the Loft Ladders?

 

If your Father did give permission those Engineers then had a 'Duty of Care' when accessing those Loft Ladders and had a 'Duty of Care' to ensure those Loft Ladders were stored away correctly.

 

If the Engineers were unsure of the correct operation of those Loft Ladders they should have made your Father aware of this or asked.

 

I would also be asking them for copies:

 

1. Complaints Procedure.

2. Customer Care Policy.

3. Copy of the Risk Assessment carried out at your property by the engineers.


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Thanks for the advice.

 

I have just called British Gas and have discovered the following answers:

 

Although he has received priority service from them in the past due to his age, he apparently wasn't on the Priority Services Register - so I've now had him added.

 

My Father did give them permission to access the loft and he actually got the ladder down and set it up for them. They did not ask him any questions pertaining to the ladder, including advice on how to store it.

 

I have managed to located a copy of the Complaints Procedure on the internet so I will be reading that shortly. I have been told by the advisor I spoke to at British Gas that there is no such thing as a Customer Care Policy. He did know what the Risk Assessment was but he did not have the authority to provide it to me, so he has referred it to a superior - by past experience with their call backs I'm not very hopeful of receiving it.

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The obvious question has to be this happened five months ago.

 

How on the balance of probability can you prove that no other individual has used that loft ladder and entered the loft after the original visit by the British Gas engineer?

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under the Provsion and Use of Work Equipment Regs (PUWER) they are supposed to use ther own CE approved ladders and not a domestic one. If the injury caused you to miss time from work you can report it to the HSE but I think that they are the first port of call under the circumstances. It might be worth googling the BG CEO's email addy and let rip there, mentioning this breach of the law along with the details of the incident and appalling service you have received since.

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As I initially mentioned the accident happened the week after the British Gas visit - not 5 months later.

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under the Provsion and Use of Work Equipment Regs (PUWER) they are supposed to use ther own CE approved ladders and not a domestic one. If the injury caused you to miss time from work you can report it to the HSE but I think that they are the first port of call under the circumstances. It might be worth googling the BG CEO's email addy and let rip there, mentioning this breach of the law along with the details of the incident and appalling service you have received since.

 

It won't apply to an extendable loft ladder which has the top fixed.

Simply there would be no space for another ladder unless the other one is unscrewed and removed.

I think the op is referring to the aluminium loft ladders that extend in 3 pieces and when closed they are tilted up in the loft, parallel to the floor.

There's a catch on them preventing the ladder from falling down when opening the latch.

I think the op is saying that the bg workers didn't engage this safety catch and when her father opened the latch, the ladder came down hitting him.

Please op confirm.

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It won't apply to an extendable loft ladder which has the top fixed.

Simply there would be no space for another ladder unless the other one is unscrewed and removed.

I think the op is referring to the aluminium loft ladders that extend in 3 pieces and when closed they are tilted up in the loft, parallel to the floor.

There's a catch on them preventing the ladder from falling down when opening the latch.

I think the op is saying that the bg workers didn't engage this safety catch and when her father opened the latch, the ladder came down hitting him.

Please op confirm.

There were 2 locking mechanisms for the ladder:

  1. the brackets hold the ladder in position in the roof
  2. the locking pin goes through the top ladder into a hole in the bottom ladder and this stops the bottom ladder from sliding down on its own

It is the locking pin that was not put in place, which allowed the bottom ladder to slide down as soon as the hatch was opened.

 

When the ladder was open and in a completely upright position (ie perpendicular to the floor) there was actually room for a different ladder to be positioned to allow access to the loft - it would have been a tight fit but it could be done (it was done when the ladder was originally installed).

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look at the house insurance and see if he gets legal advice as part of the cover. That would be the most painless way of progressing this bit I wouls still try moaning at BG's CEO about the apalling customer care around this issue regardless of any liability for injury. My comments on PUWER were to give a bit of extra weight to this complaint rather than as a stand alone complaint. It is their after the event CS that is really the issue as you arent going to get very far with an injury claim.

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British Gas

 

 

Mr Mark Hodges Chief Executive

 

Email mark.hodges@britishgas.co.uk

 

Telephone 01753 494343 (Direct)

Switchboard 01753 494000

Website http://www.britishgas.co.uk

Social Media T F

 

Postal Address Millstream, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5GDM

Company Number 06723244C

Company Status Active (Established 14/10/2008)

 

 

Go get the CEO by letter & e-mail also send copies to your local MP

 

 

these days never go through their could not care customer services and their rebuttal scripts


:mad2::-x:jaw::sad:

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Am going to repeat myself.

 

How on the balance of probability can you prove it was the Gas engineer that was negligent in securing the ladder that caused the injury??

 

In my own opinion the most you could expect from this if you wish to instigate a compensation claim for personal injury will be "Sod off money" from British Gas.

Edited by obiter dictum

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Am going to repeat myself.

 

How on the balance of probability can you prove it was the Gas engineer that was negligent in securing the ladder that caused the injury??

 

In my own opinion the most you could expect from this if you wish to instigate a compensation claim for personal injury will be "Sod off money" from British Gas.

 

Amen to that!

I just wasted 15 minutes of my life reading the almost totally irrelevant post claiming that there are trolls on this thread.

If legal action is taken, BG solicitor will simply state: "The employee secured the ladder, his colleague checked that it had been secured and it was safely put away. Can the claimant prove that nobody used that ladder since then and before they were injured?"

The answer is a bold NO.

It would have been a 50/50 if the ladder had come down the very same day, a few hours after the BG guys left, but that's not the case.

As pointed out, the only achievable outcome is a "get lost" without prejudice little sum.

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The law states and I quote ....

 

 

Onus of proving limits of what is practicable etc

 

 

In any proceedings for an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions consisting of a failure to comply with a duty or requirement to do something so far as is practicable or so far as is reasonably practicable, or to use the best practicable means to do something, it shall be for the accused to prove (as the case may be) that it was not practicable or not reasonably practicable to do more than was in fact done to satisfy the duty or requirement, or that there was no better practicable means than was in fact used to satisfy the duty or requirement. "

 

 

Has BG paid up yet?

Edited by Andyorch
Reference to moderation removed

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Hold on a second

 

It is for the claimant to prove negligence in any civil action on the balance of probability, not the respondent to prove innocence

 

The only exception will be for both a criminal and civil claim where a guilty verdict has been made in a criminal court prior to any civil hearing

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The law states and I quote ....

 

 

Onus of proving limits of what is practicable etc

 

 

In any proceedings for an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions consisting of a failure to comply with a duty or requirement to do something so far as is practicable or so far as is reasonably practicable, or to use the best practicable means to do something, it shall be for the accused to prove (as the case may be) that it was not practicable or not reasonably practicable to do more than was in fact done to satisfy the duty or requirement, or that there was no better practicable means than was in fact used to satisfy the duty or requirement. "

 

 

Has BG paid up yet?

 

More of Mike 'misdirecting' himself.

"In any proceedings for an offence under any of the relevant statutory provisions" ; so, would be a prosecution, not a civil claim. Mike, who is being prosecuted? and by whom??.

 

The statutory provisions you have quoted in a somewhat rambling and unfocused cut and paste job (which bits apply to whom?) could equally be used to show that the ladder wasn't adequately secured, and the owner of the ladder left the BG employees at risk ..........

so, rather than just cut and paste paragraphs at random, if you want to help the OP you should point out which paragraphs apply to whom, and how they help the OP.

 

The OP should write to BG and claim, and should let us know how they get on.

I suspect they'll do better to ignore Mike's over-enthusiastic and unfocused cut and paste job, and stick to the basics ; the claim is: BG's employees (and thus, vicariously: BG) owed the householder a duty of care, they breached that duty of care, and harm resulted.

 

Expect BG to claim that the chain of liability may have been broken by someone else not securing the ladder, and/or contributory negligence when the ladder was extended again.

BG might decide not to risk it in court, and offer a settlement or ex gratia payment, to avoid the litigation risk.

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