An unregistered gas fitter has been fined for illegal gas work that potentially endangered lives at a home in Staffordshire.
Self-employed trader Andrew Houghton, 47, of Morden, Surrey, installed a boiler at a home in Alrewas near Burton-on-Trent, between 15 and 21 August 2013 without being Gas Safe registered – as the law requires.
Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard today (7 Jan) that a subsequent inspection of the boiler by Gas Safe experts found a number of faults with the installation, including inadequate flues, an absence of a thermostat and a wrongly positioned condenser drain, and classified the boiler as ‘immediately dangerous’.
His illegal handiwork was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that Mr Houghton was not a registered Gas Safe engineer and therefore should not have carried out any work on gas fittings.
Gas Safe Register maintains the register of businesses and sole operatives who are competent to undertake gas work in Great Britain. Mr Houghton should have been assessed by and registered with Gas Safe Register for the work that he did at this property.
Andrew Dennis Houghton, of Bolton Drive, Morden, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was fined £2,800 and ordered to pay costs of £868.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Wayne Owen said:
“Andrew Houghton potentially put lives and property in danger by flouting the laws that are designed to protect people from substandard and faulty gas work carried out by unregistered fitters.
“It is fortunate his illegal work did not result in injury or death. Anybody who carries out work on gas pipes or appliances without being on the Gas Safe Register is breaking the law. All gas engineers should be Gas Safe registered and qualified to perform gas work.”
On average, each year around 10 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. Many more people suffer serious health effects from breathing in carbon monoxide, including paralysis and brain damage. Fire and explosion is also a major risk. For advice on gas safety visit www.hse.gov.uk/gas or www.gassaferegister.co.uk
Notes to editors
- Regulations 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.”