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Tradesman jailed for illegal Milton Keynes gas work

Date:
19 July 2013

A Buckinghamshire tradesman has been jailed for nine months for illegally carrying out sub-standard gas work at a Milton Keynes home.

Chris Johnson, of Milton Keynes, installed a boiler at a property on Armourer Drive that was dangerously defective because it was not properly connected to a flue.

The heating fitter was prosecuted today (19 July) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after undertaking the installation without being accredited to the Gas Safe Register – a legal requirement for anyone undertaking gas work of this nature.

Amersham Crown Court heard that concerns were raised about the quality of Mr Johnson’s work when the householder returned home from work in July to find the boiler wasn’t working.

Gas Safe and HSE inspectors subsequently visited the property on 20 July 2012 and identified a fault with the flue connection, classing the boiler as unsafe.

The court was told that carbon monoxide fumes could have seeped into the home instead of escaping through the flue, and that this could have had devastating consequences.

An investigation established that Mr Johnson was not registered with Gas Safe and had worked illegally as well as unsafely.

Chris Johnson, of Bogart Place, Oxley Park, Milton Keynes, received full, concurrent custodial sentences of nine, eight, six and six months after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and three separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was also ordered to pay in £2,480 in compensation to the householder.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Graham Tompkins said:

"Chris Johnson installed a gas boiler and gas pipework knowing he was not competent or legally allowed to do so.

"People die from carbon monoxide poisoning because gas appliances and flues have not been properly installed, maintained or because they are poorly ventilated. Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can also cause gas leaks, fires, explosions.

"Homeowners, landlords and tenants should always request ID and check their engineer is properly accredited."

Russell Kramer chief executive of Gas Safe Register, added:

"Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card, which shows who they are and the type of gas appliances they are qualified to work on.

"We always encourage the public to ask for and check the card and if they have any concerns about the safety of work carried out in their home, to speak to us. Every year we investigate thousands of reports of illegal gas work. Call us on 0800 408 5500 or visit our website at www.gassaferegister.co.uk."

Further information about gas safety can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/gas

Notes to editors

  1. 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. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety."
  3. Regulation 3(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: "No person shall carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or gas storage vessel unless he is competent to do so."
  4. 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."
  5. Regulation 3 (7) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: "No person shall falsely pretend to be a member of a class of persons required to be approved under paragraph (3) above."

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