Alleged Carbon Monoxide Incident Portadown 2/8/18

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland,

I am writing to request answers to the questions below under the freedom of information act.

I trust that the answers will be answered accurately and to the fullest inline the Parliamentary Ombudsman Guidance and avoid the usual efforts to frustrate the inquires into fitness of HSENI and CGRAS to operate the register in NI.

1. What recourses HSENI (staff) are assigned to the topic of Gas Industry solely?

2. What specific equipment do the gas team have to investigate with? E.g. Personal Alarms, Dragger Sampler, Combustion Analyser, Gasco Seeker Nat & Lpg gas and Co? Should these resources be available and when were they last calibrated? Do any require bump testing, on site testing with Calibrated Gas prior to their use?

3. Does the HSENI staff receive training in the use of this equipment to understand the readings and action levels? How often do they update their training to ensure high standards are maintained?

4. What equipment do CGRAS provide our NI part time three days a week operative under the operation of the NI register? Manometer, Combustion Analyser, Gasco Seeker Nat gas, LPG, Co, Tool Kit, Smoke Pellets, Smoke Matches, Torch, Personal Monitor, Tape Measure, Direct Reading Co and Co2 Reading Instrument, Manometer, continuity bond? This question and following questions in relation to CGRAS is addressed to HSENI as they are the employer of CGRAS.

5. Our local part time three days a week local CGRAS operative is he trained and certified in the operation of the equipment? When was the equipment last calibrated?

6. Is the CGRAS NI part time three days a week operative trained and certified in incident investigation of gas incidents?

7. Are any of the HSENI staff trained and certified in incident “gas and Co investigations” specifically and not a general H&S diploma?

8. Given a recent incident in Portadown 2/8/18 relating to a report of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. How long had this operative who started the incident been a holder of Gas Safe Registration card, we request this from HSENI as the employer of CGRAS? Had this operative been inspected with a 1-1 assessment by the NI Gas Safe operative given the policy not to inspect individual engineers but only businesses? This failure to inspect engineers in larger organisations can allow weak engineers to be shield from inspection and not picked up on. This is a loop hole which the trade have raised before, but profits before safety operated by CGRAS with the support of HSENI will you continue to allow this to happen?

9. Given the incident at Portadown 2/8/18 does this not raise question of those attending and working at meters need to be engineers with experience rather than fresh face youth with limited experience of all manner of appliances? The current curriculum of poorly trained with very limited experienc pressed into swapping meters to do this work on the cheap without sufficient supporting experience? Just look at the statics of gas leaks left in GB on the installation smart meters which is being ignored by CGRAS? The Curriculum was changed to allow non trade operatives to be trained in meter installations with no other experience, placed in pressure cooker situations of a set number must be completed each day resulting in higher gas escapes.
10. Are HSENI aware of the government course in NI to take people not from a Mechanical Services background or from any relevant trade back ground and turn them out in a period of one year supposedly a qualified plumber and Gas Engineer? Does HSENI believe this period can produce a competent not just in tick box paper excerise but in a manner to be competent with sufficient experience to undertake all manner of domestic work? This has been the objective of CGRAS from day one to greatly increase the number of operatives on the register to increase profit before safety.

11. Were the engineer/engineers at Portadown 2/8/18 suitably equipped with a combustion analyser or a personal Co alarm by his employer to enable him to carry out a Co test? Was the operative trained in CMDDA1?

12. Can you confirm on the day of the Portadown 2/8/18 CO reported incident that all the equipment used by our part time three days a week CGRAS Inspector was this his personally issued equipment by his employer CGRAS? If not, why not? and where was the equipment sourced from, what pre safety measures and certifications were inspected and instrument tests prior to their use?

13. Surely CGRAS provide the part time three days week inspector equipment under the contract to operate the register to enable the operative to discharge their duties in a safe manor and insure gas safety and deliver the services to HSENI? Were CGRAS directors aware that our local part time three days a week operative did not have access to the necessary equipment to discharge their duties under the contract as it would only be reasonable given that NI businesses are over paying for the reduced services provided by CGRAS? Is this further evidence that the NI contract is even more fatally flawed than we already know? If the place where the borrowed equipment was obtained from had been closed what alternative what was CGRAS alternative plan to have suitable equipment available? Is this the level of service we should expect from CGRAS? Is this the first time this has happened since taking over the contract 9 years ago? Were HSENI aware of this? What investigations are HSENI going to do in relation to these allegations? What sanctions will HSENI apply to CGRAS in relation to this breach of contract? Would this failure been seen to be compliant with Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) 1978 (Duty to conduct their undertaking in such a way to ensure as far as reasonably practicable that other people are not therefore exposed to the risk of their Health and Safety) what action will our HSENI take?

14. Given that the operative was inadequately resourced by CGRAS to discharge their duties and had to obtain equipment from others did CGRAS receive copies of the calibration certification as if this had not been a false alarm it would have been critical to an investigation?

15. Did the organisation that provided the equipment receive compensation for the provision of the equipment? This would only be reasonable as CGRAS will do nothing without money paid so only correct to see those who have to step in and prop up this shoddy half baked service also be paid for their assistance.

16. In another recent incident where a utility company operative attended a property where the boiler was operational. Upon carrying out work the appliance could not be relit? The utility company did what it always does and walks away leaving the house holder to sort out their mess. When a competent engineer attended he found that the utility engineer was unaware that they had left a disc in the meter. This clearly shows that the engineer was not competent and aware of what work they had executed? If the engineer can unknowingly leave a cap in they are also capable of leaving a leak. Do they work with a check list and is this a standard of engineer HSENI and Gas Safe aapprove?

17. Myself and one of my engineers sat and watched work carried out by a Sub Contractor changing a gas meter where a utility company carried out work in a dangerous manor. The engineer appeared to be undergoing an audit as another operative was standing watching with an electronic tablet. Without a continuity bond proceeded to disconnect the gas meter and carry out work. Is this the new HSENI approved method of work in NI like locking ECV’s? Was HSENI informed of this unsafe work?

18. Has HSENI approved a NI only relaxation to BS6400 in relation to double anaconda’s on gas meters (even Calor Gas don’t flout this standard, ask K Todd HSENI)? Has it been also approved to installation of meters without support brackets? Has it also been approved to support gas meters and there brackets from gas pipe work? As we know HSENI allow transporter regularly to flout the standards (securing medium Pressure Services) is there a specific change in the law for NI if so can you please advice me of the new standards? If not why has HSENI continued to ignore this as they have been made aware by various sources?

We thank you for you open, transparent response in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Robert King

DfE HSENI FOI, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland



Dear Mr King,




Reference: FOI/150/2018



I refer to your email dated 10 August 2018 to HSENI in which you pose a
series of questions under the above named act.


I acknowledge receipt of your request.  HSENI is currently working on this
and will be in touch with you once our response is complete.



If you have any queries regarding this email or your request please
contact HSENI by email to [1][HSENI request email] and remember to quote our
reference, FOI/150/2018, on any future correspondence.


Yours sincerely,




Information Management Unit





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1. mailto:[HSENI request email]

DfE HSENI FOI, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

Dear Mr King,


I refer to 2 separate requests for information received by HSENI through the 'whatdotheyknow' website.

The subject of the requests is 'CGRAS performance on operating Gas Safe Register in NI, appointment and public awareness' and ‘Alleged Carbon Monoxide Incident Portadown 2/8/18’.

Although the requests are from a ‘Mr Robert King’, HSENI has previously been in correspondence with a Mr A King (not Robert) regarding the same topics and I am writing to you to ascertain if Mr Robert King and Mr A King are the same person? Both requestors adopt a very similar style and each email contains numerous separate requests.

On this basis and before we can process your requests, I would ask that you provide confirmation of your identity and of any other names you may have used when corresponding with HSENI.

Until such time as this is provided, HSENI will not progress your requests as it considers the provisions of Section 8(1)(b) of the FOIA 2000 have not been met and as such does not consider this a valid request under the legislation.

Yours faithfully

Liam O’Neill


Your request has been answered previously.

Yours sincerely,

Robert King


Please provide a link to your claimed response if HSENI have fully answered the questions above?

I do not believe it has been answered fully.

Yours sincerely,

Robert King


Please advise how you want this confirmed? What documentation, blood sample, dna, photographic etc?

This has been confirmed previously but the incompetence of HSENI you chose to ignore the information provided.

Given the leakage of data by HSENI in breach of GDPR what assurances can HSENI provide to prevent leakage of data where previously your leakage resulted in threats of physical volicence to myself.

I await your full response in detailed process required which no doubt to the laziness of staff will take another 20 days. I will be happy to keep this correspondence going for the next decade.

Yours sincerely,

Robert King


Please advise precisely how you want this confirmed?

DNA, blood sample, brith certificate, skin sample?

I would note that HSENI has passed personal information to HSEGB and will be taking forward a complaint to ICO about communicating personal information without permission along with the on going failures to answer FOI’s, failure to respond in a timely manner as no doubt you will string this another 20 days. I don’t care if it takes ten years I will keep grinding away.

I would note HSEGB have answer their side of requests and we are delighted to see the future Gas Safe contract will see an exact mirror image of the GB contract and see everything that HSENI have defrauded the gas industry of due to unqualified and incompetent staff.

Yours sincerely,

Robert King

O'Neill, Liam, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

Dear Mr King

Thank you for your latest email (below) dated 14 November 2018.

My previous email asked for confirmation of your identity, as required by
Section 8 (1)(b) of the FOIA 2000 and stated that confirmation of your
actual name and any others you have used when contacting HSENI sent from a
verifiable email address will suffice. This could be achieved by using an
email address you have used to make contact with us previously (a personal
or business email address – not a public one). Please list all the names
you have used to contact us with to date. I can confirm that this is
common practice required by the FOI Act, with which we – and you - are
obliged to comply.

The specific ICO guidance in relation to when an Authority can ask for
clarification of a person’s name can be found at
The following sections (in bold) apply:


· An authority may however take the requester’s identity and motives into
account in some limited circumstances. 


· The requester’s identity may be taken into account when; 

o the authority has reason to believe that the requester hasn’t provided
their real name; 

o determining whether the cost of two or more requests can be aggregated
under section 12 of FOIA; 

o the requested information contains the requester’s own personal data; 

o assessing whether the information is reasonably accessible to the
requester by other means; and 

o assessing whether the request is a repeated request. 

· The requester’s identity and motive may be taken into account when the
authority is considering refusing a request as vexatious or manifestly


Based on the information you have provided relating to this case so far,
we have no way of cross-referencing your identity accurately and
unambiguously with any other information you may have provided previously
in connection with other matters.  Consequently – and as stated previously
– HSENI will not progress your request until you provide confirmation of
your identity in writing and inform us of any other names you may have
used when corresponding with HSENI.

I am not sure what you mean by ‘leakage of data by HSENI in breach of
GDPR’. Perhaps you would clarify exactly what breach you feel has been

You claim that an alleged data leakage resulted in threats of physical
violence, and I suggest you raise it with PSNI as a matter of urgency if
you have not already done so.  I can confirm that HSENI will cooperate
fully with any inquiries made via PSNI.

You will be aware of the timescales for response set out in the FOI Act,
and I can assure you that all HSENI staff  handle FOI requests as soon as
possible, and alongside their other statutory duties and responsibilities
– your FOI requests have been handled within the prescribed time limits.

Can I ask that any future correspondence with HSENI avoids the use of
unfounded accusations, rudeness and inflammatory statements which have the
deliberate intention to cause annoyance to HSENI staff?  In the context of
your latest email, for example, there was clearly no need to suggest DNA
or blood sampling; or accuse unnamed HSENI staff of incompetence or

I am also concerned by your suggestion that you are – and I quote – “happy
to keep this correspondence going for the next decade”, as there may come
a point at which we might consider your requests as vexatious, and refuse
to correspond further as permitted under Section 14 (1)  of the FOI Act.

If you have genuine concerns over HSENI’s ability or willingness to handle
or respond to legitimate FOI requests, then I suggest you approach the
Information Commissioner (copied into this email for information). 

Yours sincerely



Liam O'Neill

Information Manager

83 Ladas Drive
Belfast, BT6 9FR
Tel: 028 9054 7088 (ext: 47088)
[mobile number]
Textphone: 028 9052 9304

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O'Neill, Liam, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    vexatious complaints enquiries unreasonable and abusive behaviour policy....pdf

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Dear Mr King,




I refer to your requests for information under the general topic headings


1.   ‘CGRAS performance on operating Gas Safe Register in NI, appointment
and public awareness’ (received on 22/08/2018);

2.   ‘Alleged Carbon Monoxide Incident Portadown 2/8/18’ (received on
10/09/2018); and

3.   ‘Response to Corporate Plan 2018-2013’ (received on 15/10/2018).


Your combined emails (3) contain 87 separate requests for information and
the requests are a mix of line of business requests and requests under the


Following on from your visit to HSENI offices on 06/12/2018 where you
provided proof of identity and confirmed you have previously corresponded
with HSENI using another name, I am now in a position to respond to your


Taking into consideration the history of your requests (under both names)
I can advise you Section 14(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 does
not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if
the request is vexatious. After careful consideration of your request
HSENI considers it to be vexatious and we will not be responding.


I also note the contents of (a) your email of 14 November 2018 in which
you make the reference to the ‘laziness of staff’ in HSENI and (b) your
accusations within your requests of fraudulent behaviour on behalf of
HSENI. These accusations are totally unfounded, unreasonable and deemed to
be vexatious in themselves.


Furthermore, I would refer you to the ICO guidance on vexatious requests
and the identifying conditions which can be applied. The following set of
conditions apply to your requests (in addition to that noted above).


Abusive or aggressive language   The tone or language of the requester’s
correspondence goes beyond the level of criticism that a public authority
or its employees should reasonably expect to receive.


Burden on the authority       The effort required to meet the request will
be so grossly oppressive in terms of the strain on time and resources,
that the authority cannot reasonably be expected to comply, no matter how
legitimate the subject matter or valid the intentions of the requester.


Unreasonable persistence    The requester is attempting to reopen an issue
which has already been comprehensively addressed by the public authority,
or otherwise subjected to some form of independent scrutiny.


Unfounded accusations        The requester makes completely
unsubstantiated accusations against the public authority or specific


Frequent or overlapping requests The requester submits frequent
correspondence about the same issue or sends in new requests before the
public authority has had an opportunity to address their earlier


With regard to your request at item (3) above, I would refer you to the
ICO guidance (copied below for ease of reference) with regard to a
requestor who submits numerous requests. I consider this to clearly
demonstrate the situation with yourself and hence this vexatious condition
also applies.


58. A request which would not normally be regarded as vexatious in
isolation may assume that quality once considered in context. An example
of this would be where an individual is placing a significant strain on an
authority’s resources by submitting a long and frequent series of
requests, and the most recent request, although not obviously vexatious in
itself, is contributing to that aggregated burden.


59. The requester’s past pattern of behaviour may also be a relevant
consideration. For instance, if the authority’s experience of dealing with
his previous requests suggests that he won’t be satisfied with any
response and will submit numerous follow up enquiries no matter what
information is supplied, then this evidence could strengthen any argument
that responding to the current request will impose a disproportionate
burden on the authority.


I can also advise you that some of your requests fall to be considered
against our line of business regime (LOB). HSENI has invoked it’s policy
in relation to “Vexatious complaints, enquiries, unreasonable and abusive
behaviour policy” (copy attached) with regard to those requests which fall
to be answered under this regime and subsequently we will not be
corresponding with you further on this matter.


If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.


I hope you find this information useful, but if you are dissatisfied with
the way in which HSENI has handled your request, please go to
[1] which explains
the actions that are available to you.


Yours sincerely




Liam O'Neill

Information Manager

83 Ladas Drive
Belfast, BT6 9FR
Tel: 028 9054 7088 (ext: 47088)
[mobile number]
Textphone: 028 9052 9304
Web: [2]
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Dear Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland's handling of my FOI request 'Alleged Carbon Monoxide Incident Portadown.

I ask for an external review as HSENI have always attempted to frustrate freedom of information requests that expose their failures to discharge their duties. They constantly go off track and not answer the questions with clarity requiring correspondence to bring them back on track.
It’s clear as far back as 2012 when questions about the CGRAS contract they had the information and chose to suppress it to aid and albeit the the charging by CGRAS Ltd for services they were not providing in NI.

The Portadown incident question is were a service provider attended a reported Co incident and was not properly equipped and had to borrow equipment and we believe HSENI knew that the service provider was not properly equipped. Had this been a real incident it would have delayed a timely response.
This highlights the mismanagement and supervision by HSENI.

I would also draw attention to the leaking of personal information by HSENI.

No doubt this too will be suppressed but we will follow procedure before the ICO investigation which is where this is going.

Reference to lazy is the inability for HSENI to ever respond in less than 20 days every time playing the delay game.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Robert King

DfE HSENI FOI, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

Dear Mr King
I acknowledge receipt of your recent e-mail to the Health and Safety
Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) received on 19 December 2018.  I
can advise a response will issue in due course.
Gail Younger
Information Management Unit
[1][email address]


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1. mailto:[email address]

DfE HSENI FOI, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

1 Attachment

Dear Mr R King,


HSENI – Internal Review of FOI/150/2018


Please see the attached document in response to your request for an
internal review.


Yours sincerely


Gail Younger

Information Management Unit

[1][IMG] [2][IMG]




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Dear Ms Younger

It's clear HSENI don't understand the difference between internal and external review.

I had asked for an external review as they will never admit there efforts to frustrate Freedom of Information Requests regarding their failings.

The process here is exhausted and will now be passed to ICO

Thank you for your efforts, the truth is in there and it's a matter on time till it comes out.
Yours sincerely,

Robert King