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Liskeard landlord endangered lives by replacing gas boiler

Date:
9 October 2013

A Cornish landlord risked the life of neighbours by carrying out work on a domestic gas boiler despite being unqualified to do so.

Shaun Johnson removed an old gas boiler and replaced it with a new one but used the existing flue, which caused an immediate risk of explosion or of poisonous carbon monoxide gas escaping into the house had the boiler been used.

He was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after inspections identified serious concerns with his illegal fitting.

Truro Magistrates’ Court heard this week (9 October) that Mr Johnson carried out the work on a home he owned in Addington North, Liskeard, in May this year while his mother, who lives at the property, was away.

Mr Johnson asked a Gas Safe registered engineer to look at the work, but when the engineer saw the connection to the flue, they classified the work as “immediately dangerous” and contacted HSE.

HSE found that Mr Johnson was not a Gas Safe registered engineer and therefore was neither qualified nor legally entitled to work on gas.

Mr Johnson, of Old Road, Liskeard, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was fined a total of £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £288.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones, said:

“Mr Johnson tried to save money by removing an old gas boiler and replacing it with a new one himself, but his work had the potential to endanger lives – not just of anyone in the house itself, but also in neighbouring properties had there been an explosion.

“Gas work should only be undertaken by Gas Safe registered engineers who are properly trained and accredited to carry out work safely.”

Russell Kramer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said:

“It can be tempting for people to DIY with gas but ultimately it’s dangerous and illegal.

“Badly fitted and poorly maintained appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Sadly, there have been 31 deaths and over 1,000 injuries in the past three years in Britain as a result of gas related incidents.

“Always employ a registered gas engineer to carry out any gas work you need doing. It’s the law and it’ll help you and your family stay safe. You can find registered engineers in your area by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or by calling 0800 408 5500.”

Further information on gas safety can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/gas and on the Gas Safe Register website at www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 26 (1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998    states: “No person shall install a gas appliance unless it can be used without constituting a danger to any person.”
  3. Regulation 3 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: “No employer shall allow any of his employees to carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or service pipework and no self-employed person shall carry out any such work, unless the employer or self-employed person, as the case may be, is a member of a class of persons approved for the time being by the Health and Safety Executive for the purposes of this paragraph.
  4. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press  

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