Unregistered gas work leads to fine for fitter

hseAn unregistered gas fitter has been fined for illegal gas work that potentially endangered lives at a home in Staffordshire.

Self-employed trader, Andrew Houghton, 47, of Morden, Surrey, installed a boiler at a home in Alrewas, near Burton-on-Trent, between August 15 – 21, 2013, without being Gas Safe registered – as the law requires.

Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard that a subsequent inspection of the boiler by Gas Safe experts found a number of faults with the installation, including inadequate flues, an absence of a thermostat and a wrongly positioned condenser drain, and classified the boiler as ‘immediately dangerous’.

His illegal handiwork was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that Mr Houghton was not a registered Gas Safe engineer and, therefore, should not have carried out any work on gas fittings.

Gas Safe Register maintains the register of businesses and sole operatives who are competent to undertake gas work in Great Britain. Mr Houghton should have been assessed by and registered with Gas Safe Register for the work that he did at this property.

Mr Houghton pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was fined £2,800 and ordered to pay costs of £868.

HSE inspector, Wayne Owen, said:

“Andrew Houghton potentially put lives and property in danger by flouting the laws that are designed to protect people from substandard and faulty gas work carried out by unregistered fitters.

“It is fortunate his illegal work did not result in injury or death. Anybody who carries out work on gas pipes or appliances without being on the Gas Safe Register is breaking the law. All gas engineers should be Gas Safe registered and qualified to perform gas work.”

On average, each year around ten people die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. Many more people suffer serious health effects from breathing in CO, including paralysis and brain damage. Fire and explosion is also a major risk.

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