Gas engineer left boiler in dangerous state

A Somerset gas engineer has been fined for unsafe gas work after leaving a boiler in an “immediately dangerous” condition when he carried out a service.

Mark Sampson, 42, from Bridgwater, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Exeter Magistrates’ Court yesterday (3 Sept) for a safety breach following an investigation into his actions.

Magistrates were told that Mr Sampson is a registered gas engineer with the Gas Safe Register, and that as well as undertaking work independently he also carried out work as an employee of a local company.

The court heard how the company, also on the Gas Safe Register, had instructed Mr Sampson to service the boiler at a property in Brackendown, West Hill, on 19 March 2014 as part of a contract the homeowners had with their energy supplier.

He carried out the service but said he needed to order some parts and left the property, leaving the boiler working. He then contacted his boss to seek approval from the energy supplier to obtain the parts.

The energy supplier was suspicious and instructed another gas engineer from a separate company to visit the home the same day to check if the parts were really needed. The second engineer found some of the parts were not needed and that Mr Sampson had used a 20p piece to “repair” a viewing glass in the boiler which mean it had to be classed as “immediately dangerous”.

Mark Sampson, 42, of Watermans Meadow, Bridgwater, was fined £1,000 ordered to pay £353 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said:

“Mark Sampson was Gas Safe registered, which makes it even more shocking that he failed to carry out this work to the correct standard thereby putting the homeowners and any visitors to the property at risk.

“Using a 20p piece in this way is totally unacceptable and meant the boiler was classed as ‘immediately dangerous’ posing a risk of fire and carbon monoxide gas leaking from the boiler.

“There were signs of heat damage inside and outside the boiler before Mark Sampson carried out this ‘repair”, so he should have been alerted to the risk of fire.”