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Suspended sentence for unregistered plumber who failed to spot boiler faults

Date:
27 November 2014

A Derbyshire plumber has appeared in court for carrying out gas work without being registered and for failing to notice faults on an unsafe boiler.

Northern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard today (27 Nov) that between December 2012 and February 2014, Christopher Buck carried out gas work at a number of properties without being registered with Gas Safe, as the law requires.

It was a deliberate breach because he knew of the need to be formally accredited after previously allowing an earlier registration to lapse.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 27 November 2013 revealed that Mr Buck had serviced a boiler at a house in Inkersall but failed to carry out all the necessary safety checks. He did not spot that pipe work was not properly sealed, which meant the boiler was unsafe and posed a potential risk to those living in the property.

Christopher Buck of Mansfield Road, Hillstown, Bolsover, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 3(3) and 26(9) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, for both breaches, to run concurrently. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work and to pay costs of £748.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Edward Walker said:

“Mr Buck knew there was a requirement to be registered and that he should not have been carrying out the work, so there was a deliberate breach. Not only was he not registered but he did not take due diligence when it came to carrying out the safety checks as part of the boiler service. Subsequently, he was leaving the people in the property at risk.”

Russell Krämer, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, commented:

“It is a legal requirement for all engineers working on gas to be registered. By not doing so, they are putting people’s lives in danger.

“To avoid the risks of dangerous and illegal gas work, people should ensure to only ever use a Gas Safe registered engineer. Ask to see identification before allowing anyone to carry out gas work in your home, and remember to get annual safety checks on all your gas appliances by signing up to a free reminder service at www.staygassafe.co.uk.”

Mr Buck re-registered with Gas Safe in February this year.

Notes to Editors

  1. 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.
  2. Regulation 26(9) of the same regulations states: Where a person performs work on a gas appliance he shall immediately thereafter examine the effectiveness of any flue; the supply of combustion air; its operating pressure or heat input or, where necessary, both; its operation so as to ensure its safe functioning, and forthwith take all reasonable practicable steps to notify any defect to the responsible person and, where different, the owner of the premises in which the appliance is situated or, where neither is reasonably practicable, in the case of an appliance supplied with liquefied petroleum gas, the supplier of gas to the appliance, or, in any other case, the transporter.

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