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Plumber prosecuted for illegal gas work

Date:
19 December 2014

A plumber from Bude has been fined for carrying out illegal and unsafe gas work that potentially endangered lives. .

Bodmin Magistrates’ Court heard today (19 Dec) that Matthew Congdon, 33, a director of Coastal Plumbing and Heating Ltd, claimed to be on the Gas Safe Register – as the law requires – when in fact his registration had expired.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Congdon had undertaken at least two complete boiler installations and a gas fire installation after his registration ended in May 2013.

Mr Congdon had claimed to still be a member and continued to use the Gas Safe Register name and logo on his work vehicle and in local press and online adverts. He undertook a number of landlords’ gas safety checks for a managing agent in Bude, making them believe that he was a member of the Gas Safe Register, both verbally and on documents produced.

Magistrates were told that a Gas Safe inspector found 33 separate instances on the two boiler installations and gas fire installation where the workmanship was not to the current standards and not to the manufacturer’s specifications. It included work on a gas inlet pipe that was classed ‘At Risk’.

HSE issued Mr Congdon with a Prohibition Notice on 9 September 2014 to stop him falsely claiming to be a Gas Safe Register member. He was given until 12 September 2014 to remove the logo from his van. However, Mr Congdon’s van was seen still displaying the Gas Safe Register logo on 7 November.

Matthew Congdon, of Stibb, near Bude, was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £418 after pleading guilty to three separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was also ordered to pay £700 compensation to a homeowner.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said:

“Matthew Congdon clearly put profit before safety and he deliberately deceived people, leading them to believe that he was registered and competent to undertake gas work, when in fact he wasn’t qualified.

“It is a legal requirement for landlords and managing agents to undertake annual gas safety checks at properties and it is a legal requirement for them to use a member of Gas Safe Register.

“Fortunately, no one was injured but by claiming to be a member of Gas Safe Register, Mr Congdon risked the lives of homeowners and tenants and the reputation of the managing agent who trusted him.”

Information on gas work can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/gas.htm and at http://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 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.”
  3. 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.”
  4. Regulation 33(1)(c) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: “Where a person installs a gas appliance at a time when gas is being supplied to the premises in which the appliance is installed, he shall immediately thereafter test its connection to the installation pipework to verify that it is gastight and examine the appliance and the gas fittings and other works for the supply of gas and any flue or means of ventilation to be used in connection with the appliance for the purpose of ascertaining whether (c) the appliance has been installed with due regard to any manufacturer’s instructions provided to accompany the appliance.
  5. Regulation 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It is an offence for a person to fail to discharge a duty to which he is subject by virtue of sections 2 to 7.
  6. For further HSE news releases visit www.hse.gov.uk/press

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