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Pair in court for endangering homeowners’ lives

Date:
11 March 2015

Two tradesmen have been fined after the lives of homeowners were put at risk when one of them illegally installed a boiler at a home in High Wycombe.

High Wycombe Magistrates heard today (11 March) the homeowner had contracted Anthony Shaw, who trades as Quality Building Services, Aylesbury, to extend his home in October 2012.

Part of the work included moving a boiler from an airing cupboard to the new extension and Mr Shaw recommended Darren Bridgen, also of Aylesbury, to the homeowner to carry out the gas work but failed to check he was Gas Safe registered. Mr Shaw would be paid for the work and be responsible for paying Mr Bridgen.

Mr Brigden later removed and re-installed the boiler between 1-8 October 2012 and the extension work was completed in July the following year.

The construction was then inspected by the local authority who informed the homeowner he needed a certificate for the re-installation of the boiler. When he contacted Mr Shaw to get a certificate, Mr Shaw got in touch with Darren Bridgen, who told him his Gas Safe registration had expired.

A Gas Safe Register engineer inspected the boiler and condemned it as ‘immediately dangerous’ and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation.

HSE established that Mr Brigden had not been a member of the Gas Safety Register when the work was undertaken. In addition Mr Shaw had failed to fulfil his duty to ensure the work had been undertaken by a registered engineer.

Anthony Shaw, 47, of Oakfield Road, Aylesbury, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £550 in costs as well as a £120 victim surcharge, after pleading guilty to a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Darren Brigden, 33, of Hawthorne Close, Aylesbury, was fined  £1,300 and ordered to pay £550 in costs as well as a £120 victim surcharge, after pleading guilty to a breach of the same regulations.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said:

“Businesses should make reasonable efforts to obtain evidence that people they intend to use to carry out gas work, either under contract or on their own behalf, is a member, or is employed by a member, of Gas Safe Register. Mr Shaw neglected to do this.

“Mr Bridgen was perfectly aware that he was not Gas Safe registered, even though he had been so before. It is extremely important that gas work is only undertaken by a person who has up to date competencies and holds current registration.

“If gas appliances, such as boilers, are not properly installed there is a risk of fire, explosion, gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.”

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.”

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 4 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: “Where an employer or a self-employed person requires any work in relation to a gas fitting to be carried out at any place of work under his control or where an employer or self-employed person has control to any extent of work in relation to a gas fitting, he shall take reasonable steps to ensure that the person undertaking that work is, or is employed by, a member of a class of persons approved by the Health and Safety Executive under regulation 3(3) above”

3. Regulation 3(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states: “No person shall carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting or gas storage vessel unless he is competent to do so.

4. HSE news releases are available at http//press.hse.gov.uk

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