19 September 2013
A man who ran a property maintenance business has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out community work for forging the details of a Gas Safe registered engineer and carrying out illegal gas safety checks.
Adrian Hunt, 42, carried out the compulsory annual safety checks on rented domestic properties in Dawlish, where he lives, on behalf of landlords and managing agents despite not being on the Gas Safe Register.
In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Newton Abbot Magistrates heard today (19 September) that Mr Hunt’s services were used by a number of managing agents in South Devon.
He offered to organise the safety checks and often used a registered Gas Safe engineer, but on at least three occasions, at properties in Brook Street and Brookdale Terrace, Dawlish, he did the checks himself and filled out the gas safety record using the details of a real Gas Safe registered engineer. Mr Hunt failed to check the supply of combustion air after working on gas appliances.
The issue came to light when the registered gas engineer went to a property and saw his details had been filled out on the record with someone else’s handwriting.
Adrian Hunt of Holman Close, Dawlish, was found guilty of breaching Regulations 3(3), 3(7) and 26(9)(b), of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was sentenced to 120 days in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £5,000.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones, said:
"Tenants were put at real risk by the actions of Adrian Hunt when he deliberately misled landlords and tenants into believing that gas appliances were safe to use.
"Landlords and tenants should be able to rely on the honesty of people who undertake important safety checks on gas appliances at their properties.
"Annual landlord gas safety checks are important because of the dangers from carbon monoxide poisoning and fire and explosion from faulty or poorly maintained gas appliances, which a reliable landlord gas safety check will highlight."
Russell Kramer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said:
"Gas work should only be undertaken by a suitably qualified and competent Gas Safe registered engineer. Every registered engineer carries an ID card which shows they are who they say they are and which clearly shows the types of gas work they can carry out. You can check the ID of an engineer by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or calling 0800 408 550."
Further information on gas safety can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/gas.
Notes to editors
- 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
- Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
- Regulation 26 (9) (b) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: "Where a person performs work on a gas appliance he shall immediately thereafter examine the supply of combustible air and forthwith take reasonable practicable stops to notify any defect to the responsible person (in this case the homeowner).
- 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."
- 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."