News & Events

Coroner's findings are key to stop future deaths

Master Plumbers, the plumbing industry association, strongly supported Coroner Hawkins’ findings into the tragic death of Sonia Sofianopoulos from carbon monoxide poisoning in July 2017.

The recommendations include a call for phasing out old-technology open-flued heaters, consultation with industry to improve servicing compliance, a public awareness campaign on the dangers of carbon monoxide and ongoing training for plumbing professionals.

Master Plumbers CEO Peter Daly expressed strong support for all eight of Coroner Hawkins’ recommendations and urged government and regulators to work closely with the plumbing industry in their implementation.

“Lessons learnt from this Inquest clearly demonstrate that more needs to be done by regulators and the plumbing industry to avoid a repeat of this tragedy,” Mr Daly said.

“All gas appliances have the potential to produce deadly carbon monoxide if they are not regularly serviced and maintained correctly.  Master Plumbers has been highlighting the need for mandated servicing for many years and we are pleased that this has been backed by the Coroner.”

“Open-flued gas heaters are old technology which is no longer compatible with the design of modern or renovated homes, where natural outside ventilation is restricted.  The State Government should now move to formally ban the sale of this technology and phase out those in existing homes and businesses,” he said.

Master Plumbers' experts have trained nearly five thousand gasfitters in carbon monoxide awareness in recent years and is currently delivering further sessions across Victoria, supported by the Victorian Building Authority and Energy Safe Victoria.

“We are committed to the continuous professional development of plumbing professionals to enhance the skills of plumbers who install and service gas heaters, ensuring households are not at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning,” Mr Daly said.

“Licensed and qualified plumbers are the only people who can service gas appliances in Victoria and our message to consumers is clear – make sure you regularly service your appliances and it’s done by a properly licensed professional.”