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Kitchen fitter prosecuted for endangering homeowners’ lives

Date:
4 March 2015

A Tyneside man has been sentenced for putting the lives of homeowners at risk after deceiving a local kitchen fitting company by claiming he was Gas Safe registered.

Neil Scott, a self-employed kitchen fitter, was contracted by the company to carry out work at three properties in Newcastle where kitchens were being refurbished between 1 September and 31 December 2012.

The work involved installing gas appliances, including gas hobs and in one case a central heating boiler.

The kitchen fitting company later contacted Gas Safe to check the work and a Gas Safe regional investigations officer switched off the boiler when it was found to have faults that could have endangered life or property if operated.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation and Mr Scott was today (4 March) prosecuted at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court for multiple gas safety breaches.

The court was told that it is a legal requirement that any work carried out on gas appliances must only be done by a Gas Safe engineer. When asked by the kitchen company, Mr Scott had fraudulently claimed he was Gas Safe registered. However, Mr Scott had never been Gas Safe registered and was not sufficiently competent to carry out the work.

Neil Scott, 38, of Exeter Road, Wallsend, Newcastle was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £500 in costs after pleading guilty to six breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 – three each of Regulation 3(3) and Regulation 3(7).

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Jonathan Wills said:

“Mr Scott displayed a deliberate and reckless approach to the law by putting the owners of these three properties at risk with a view to profiting financially.

“Having deceived those involved into thinking he was Gas Safe registered he carried out work which in one instance could have resulted in someone being seriously injured or even killed.

“This case should act as a reminder that HSE will prosecute those who flout the law in such a way, putting the lives of members of the public in danger.”

Russell Krämer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said:

“Illegal gas work is dangerous and can put lives and property at risk. It’s vital that you employ a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out any gas work. Every registered gas engineer carries a Gas Safe ID card. Always ask to see the card and check their unique licence number with Gas Safe on the website www.GasSafeRegsiter.co.uk or call the free helpline on 0800 408 5500.”

Homeowners and landlords can check whether a gas engineer has a valid licence card by visiting the Gas Safe website at: http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/ or calling 0800 408 5500.

Notes to Editors

  1. 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 …self-employed person.. 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. HSE news releases are available at http//press.hse.gov.uk.

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