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Cornish gas fitter left hob in dangerous state

Date:
7 February 2014

An illegal gas fitter, who was unqualified to carry out work on gas appliances, left a hob he worked on in a dangerous condition, a court heard today (7 February).

Michael Rowe, from Bodmin, was contracted to install a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) hob and associated pipework in a house at Trispen, near Truro, during a refurbishment project between June and August 2011.

In March 2013 there was a fire from the gas pipe supplying the gas hob. A subsequent inspection by a Gas Safe registered engineer found that compression joints on the installation were weeping LPG.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated, found Mr Rowe was not a registered gas engineer, had never been a member of the Gas Safe Register, or its predecessor, CORGI.

Truro Magistrates’ Court was told Mr Rowe’s substandard work had posed a serious threat of fire and explosion.

Michael Rowe, of Gilbert Road, Bodmin pleaded guilty to a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,770 in costs. He was also ordered to pay £250 in compensation to the homeowner.

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

“Mr Rowe should not have been carrying out work on gas appliances because he is not qualified or competent to do so. His substandard work put the lives of other people at risk.  Anyone who works on gas fittings and is not Gas Safe registered is working illegally.

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

“Illegal gas work puts lives and homes at risk, with around one in five jobs investigated by the Register found to be immediately dangerous. The best way for people to stay gas safe is to make sure that they only use a registered engineer to carry out gas work in their home. You can check an engineer is registered by asking to see their Gas Safe ID card; by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting the website, www.gassaferegister.co.uk.”

Further information on gas safety can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas.

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. 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 who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
  4. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.

 

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