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Builder prosecuted for dangerous gas work

Date:
5 September 2013

A builder has been sentenced for illegal and dangerous gas work that posed a serious risk to a Bude pensioner.

Roy Osborne, 54, of Titson, near Marhamchurch, Bude, failed to isolate a gas supply when he removed an LPG fire at a rented property in Poughill on behalf of a landlord’s agent. Gas could have leaked into the property as a result.

He then reinstalled the fire directly onto a carpet without a grate, which created a further fire risk.

Mr Osborne was prosecuted today (5 Sept) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation into the unsafe work revealed that he tampered with the fire without being Gas Safe registered, which is a legal requirement for anyone undertaking gas work.

Bodmin Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Osborne was contracted during August 2012 by a letting agent to carry out remedial building work to resolve a damp problem at the Poughill property, which was leased to a female pensioner.

While he was there the elderly tenant asked him if he could also remove the gas fire grate out so she could have a new carpet fitted, and agreed to pay him separately.

The builder’s haphazard work was discovered in February 2013 when the landlord employed a Gas Safe registered engineer to check the property for an annual gas safety certificate.

Roy Arthur Osborne pleaded guilty to three separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was given a community service order for 180 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £448 in costs.

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

"Roy Osborne’s illegal gas work created a real risk of fire and explosion in an elderly lady’s home, and the consequences could have been fatal.

"He left a gas pipe inadequately capped for seven days and then a gas fire was fitted directly onto a carpet, both of which are clearly dangerous.

"By law gas work should only be undertaken by a Gas Safe registered engineer, Mr Osborne undertook this work knowing full well that he wasn’t qualified or certified to do so."

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

"Badly fitted and poorly maintained gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

The best way to stay safe is to get appliances checked regularly and to only use a registered engineer to carry out gas work.

Always check your engineer is registered by asking to see their Gas Safe ID card. Remember to also check the back of the card as this lists the work your engineer is competent and legally able to carry out. Not all engineers are qualified to carry out all gas work."

Further information on gas safety can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/gas. For more information about Gas Safe Register and to find an engineer visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

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 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: "No self-employed person shall carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting unless a member of a class of person approved for the time being by the Health and Safety Executive (Gas Safe Registered)."
  3. 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."
  4. Regulation 6(2) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: "No person carrying out work in relation to a gas fitting shall leave the fitting unattended unless every incomplete gasway has been sealed with the appropriate fitting or the gas fitting is otherwise safe."

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