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Posted by David Cant on April 6, 2014
Gas is never dangerous when in the rights hands, but give it to the wrong hands and it becomes a killer. Gas safety in the UK is being threatened by illegal rogue traders who carry out gas fittings with neither the qualifications nor the skills to work safely. According to research from Gas Safe Register, there are a quarter of a million illegal gas jobs done by unqualified gas fitters every year.It is always up to you to ensure the gas fitter you hire is fully qualified and above board.
Who Bore the Blame for the Endangered Lives of Hampstead Tenants?
When gas safety breaches were discovered at a block of privately rented flats in Hampstead, North London, two landlord companies had to pay the price.
On 19 March 2014,the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Holbond Ltd and Valbond Management Ltd following investigations that revealed vital gas checks had been neglected. In an apartment managed by Valbond, a Gas Safe Register engineer found a flue joint that needed repair in a ceiling void but that had been neglected and could have been leaking emissions from the boiler for a possible five years.
Westminster Magistrates" Court heard that investigations conducted on two other properties, one managed by Holbond and the other by Valbond, also revealed that concealed flue pipes and gas boilers were not maintained. Neither company had landlord gas safety certificates or had arranged annual gas safety inspections for the properties as legally required.
The court learnt that tenants of the building that had the leak had left as they lacked confidence in the landlord"s ability to manage the gas system and therefore guarantee their safety. Being in the building exposed them to potential carbon monoxide poisoning and by leaving they probably saved their own lives.
Both Holbond Ltd and Valbond Management Ltd were found guilty of breaching Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Holbond paid £20,000 in fines and £432 in costs while Valbond paid £28,000 in fines and £432 in costs.
The Profile of an Illegal Gas Fitter
You should be able to spot an illegal gas worker when you know the characteristics that fit the profile developed by Gas Safe Register. Over half of gas fitters (57%) are sole businesses and a third (33%) are employees of companies with no more than four workers. 90% do not just carry out gas work but also take plumbing jobs, 81% do bathroom fittings, 67% do kitchen fittings, 43% do electrical work, and 43% are into general maintenance of buildings.
There is also reason for Gas Safe Register to believe online adverts for gas services are mostly done by illegal gas fitters, who also target local papers because there are rarely any registration checks. In contrast, the illegal gas workers avoid advertising in directories like Thompson Local and Yellow Pages because registration checks are carried out.
How Do You Keep Illegal Gas Fitters from Your Home?
Your home should not become a death trap because you use a gas cooker, gas fire, or gas boiler. Make sure that the gas engineer you hire for all your installations, repairs, and maintenance is certified by Gas Safe Register. To confirm their legitimacy, check that they have a Gas Safe Register ID. Also check the back of the ID card to confirm that they are allowed to do the job you are hiring them to do. If your gas engineer is registered to put in a gas fire, this does not imply they are automatically qualified to fit gas boilers.
Recommendations and first impressions should not be the basis for a trustworthy relationship between you and a gas fitter, even when they are extremely polite and helpful. Ask for the Gas Safe Register ID card at all times and report any suspicions you harbour to Gas Safe Register.
Save Yourself Unnecessary Trouble¦
Get free gas safety advice for your home today by calling our professional health and safety consultants on 0800 1488 677. You do not want loss of lives or lawsuits on your hands.
This post has been filed in: Blog