Pair in court for endangering homeowners’ lives

hseTwo tradesmen have been fined after the lives of homeowners were put at risk when one of them illegally installed a boiler at a home in High Wycombe.

High Wycombe Magistrates heard the homeowner had contracted Anthony Shaw, who trades as Quality Building Services, Aylesbury, to extend his home in October 2012.

Part of the work included moving a boiler from an airing cupboard to the new extension and Mr Shaw recommended Darren Bridgen, also of Aylesbury, to the homeowner to carry out the gas work but failed to check he was Gas Safe registered.

Mr Shaw would be paid for the work and be responsible for paying Mr Bridgen.

Mr Brigden later removed and re-installed the boiler between October 1-8, 2012 and the extension work was completed in July the following year.

The construction was then inspected by the local authority who informed the homeowner he needed a certificate for the re-installation of the boiler. When he contacted Mr Shaw to get a certificate, Mr Shaw got in touch with Mr Bridgen, who told him his Gas Safe registration had expired.

A Gas Safe Register engineer inspected the boiler and condemned it as ‘immediately dangerous’ and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation.

HSE established that Mr Brigden had not been a member of the Gas Safety Register when the work was undertaken. In addition, Mr Shaw had failed to fulfil his duty to ensure the work had been undertaken by a registered engineer.

Mr Shaw, 47, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £550 in costs, as well as a £120 victim surcharge, after pleading guilty to a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Mr Brigden, 33, was fined £1,300 and ordered to pay £550 in costs, as well as a £120 victim surcharge, after pleading guilty to a breach of the same regulations.

HSE inspector, Stephen Faulkner, said:

“Businesses should make reasonable efforts to obtain evidence that people they intend to use to carry out gas work, either under contract or on their own behalf, is a member, or is employed by a member, of Gas Safe Register. Mr Shaw neglected to do this.

“Mr Bridgen was perfectly aware that he was not Gas Safe registered, even though he had been so before. It is extremely important that gas work is only undertaken by a person who has up-to-date competencies and holds current registration.

“If gas appliances, such as boilers, are not properly installed there is a risk of fire, explosion, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.”