Two unregistered gas fitters and a registered gas engineer have been jointly prosecuted for safety failings relating to illegal and dangerous gas work at two properties in Essex.
Christopher Campbell, 43, of Colchester, installed a new boiler and associated pipework at a house on Lexden Road, Colchester, in March 2012. A month later, he installed a new boiler at a property on Sovereign Crescent and enlisted the help of Scott Enfield, 25, of Manningtree to complete the work.
Mr Campbell then asked local Gas Safe registered engineer Daniel Osborne, 31, to review the gas work carried out at both properties in order to obtain signed gas safety records.
Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard today (27 March 2013) that work at both properties was later classified by gas safety experts as either ‘immediately dangerous’ or ‘at risk’.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that neither Mr Campbell nor Mr Enfield were registered as qualified and competent to carry out gas work with Gas Safe Register.
In addition, Magistrates were told that despite being a registered engineer, Mr Osborne had provided Gas Safety records for the new boilers at both properties without carrying out the necessary safety checks.
Christopher Campbell, trading as Campbell Plumbing and Heating Services, of Coppingford End, Copford, Colchester, pleaded guilty of two breaches of Regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,250 in costs.
Scott Enfield of Wignall Street, Lawford, Manningtree, pleaded guilty to a single breach of Regulation 3(3). He was fined £500 and ordered to pay £2,113 in costs.
Daniel Osborne, trading as Osborne PH Services, of Halstead Road, Stanway, Colchester, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 3(2) of the Heath and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £2,187 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Nicola Jaynes said:
“Christopher Campbell and Scott Enfield carried out gas boiler and gas pipe work that was clearly substandard and knowing they were not legally allowed to do so.
“Daniel Osborne failed to identify that gas work had been carried out by unregistered fitters and failed to identify and record the unsafe features at the properties. He then went on to provide incorrect gas safety records.
“Every year many people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can also cause fires, explosions or gas leaks.
“Unregistered gas fitters do not have the training, knowledge or experience to work on gas fittings safely. They endanger the lives of the public for financial gain, fraudulently avoiding the time and expense of becoming competent and registered.”
Russell Kramer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, added:
“Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas appliances they are qualified to work on. We always encourage the public to ask for and check the card and if they do have any concerns about the safety of work carried out in their home, to speak to us. Every year we investigate hundreds of reports of illegal gas work. Call us on 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at www.gassaferegister.co.uk .”
Further information about gas safety can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/gas