Swindon gas engineer put tenants at risk

A gas engineer put the tenants of a property at risk by carrying out poor work while undertaking important safety checks, a court heard yesterday (24 March).

Derek Hall, (55), had been asked to carry out statutory checks for a landlord’s gas record for a property in Gales Court, Lechlade, in 2011 and 2012 but failed to alert anyone to problems with a fire and back boiler.

Mr Hall’s work was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a complaint from a tenant who believed she could be suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Cheltenham Magistrates heard that another gas engineer had to be called in to inspect the boiler and discovered it did not have suitable sealing or adequate ventilation.

The engineer classified the boiler as “immediately dangerous” and disconnected the gas supply. Mr Hall was called to the property again but once more advised the appliances were safe to use.

However, the tenant received no confirmation paperwork and continued to use her electric appliances. A third gas engineer was called out and again identified the boiler as “immediately dangerous” and HSE was informed.

Mr Hall, of Malthouse Close, Blunsdon, Swindon, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £646 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of gas safety regulations.

HSE Inspector Paul Newton, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Mr Hall’s failures to identify and alert the tenants and landlord to problems with the ventilation and sealing put the tenants at risk of gas poisoning.

“Registered gas engineers carrying out safety checks must carry their work out thoroughly because even the smallest error can put lives at risk.”

Further information about gas safety can be found on the HSE website atwww.hse.gov.uk/gas.