Gas Safe Register ignored by fitter leads to fine


A gas fitter who misled a customer into believing he was legally registered before completing work that put lives at risk has been fined £600 with costs.

The 34 year old man, was self-employed when he installed a new boiler and pipework at a flat in south London.

Unregistered Gas Engineer – Carbon Monoxide Risk

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that his work was sub-standard. The Gas Safe Register was unable to confirm that the gas pipe work and gas boiler were safe, particularly from the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The HSE found that lives could have been at risk due to the installation's safety defects and that, despite claims to the contrary, he had never been a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, all gas engineering businesses or self-employed gas engineers carrying out domestic or commercial gas work must be registered with Gas Safe.

Given the frequency of domestic carbon monoxide poisoning, which can occur if gas, oil, wood and coal fuels are incompletely burnt, such legal requirements are a critical part of the HSE's efforts to protect lives.

For this reason HSE inspector Saif Deen believes there is no excuse for illegally working on gas appliances, and that to falsely claim Gas Safe registration is a very serious offence.

"It is illegal for any unregistered person to carry out such work," he said. "When unqualified workers try to bypass the law in this way they are not only putting themselves at risk of prosecution, a large fine and a lengthy time in prison – they are also putting their customers' lives at risk."

"The householder in this case has suffered a great deal of stress and feared for her safety as a result of his actions."

"Working with gas appliances is difficult, specialised and potentially dangerous. Only qualified and registered engineers should attempt it. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute those who break the law in this way."

The man was found guilty of breaching Regulations 3(3) and 3(7) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 and was fined £600 with £1,994 costs.

Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register said that his organisation works closely with the HSE to investigate unregistered gas fitters. "This prosecution comes as welcome news to us all. Gas fitters working unregistered like this man are far more common than you think – we estimate they're doing 250,000 illegal jobs each year, causing fires, explosions, gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning and leaving people out of pocket."

Bryan Nott of Simpson Millar LLP said that consumers should check credentials carefully before instructing an engineer. "Every Gas Safe registered engineer carries an identity card, which you should always ask to see before any gas work is undertaken in your home."

"The front of the card has a photograph, a registration number and an expiry date, while on the back you should see the various categories of work that the engineer is qualified for, such as cookers, boilers or gas fires."

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