Gas Safety, don’t pick the cheap option
When it comes to matters of gas safety, a little extra love for money can shorten your journey to the grave. This is a lesson a family in Lowestoft nearly took recently, were it not for the quick and smart decision of a competent gas engineer.
Gas man Barry learns gas safety regulations from the law
Scaling down on the cost of gas system maintenance services will usually result in unsafe gas works. With a lack of planning you are more likely than not to hire an unqualified gas fitter, which is illegal. 59-year-old Barry Goodge of Oulton Broad paid the price for daring to overlook the law and carry out dangerous gas work. He will be enjoying a suspended jail time, courtesy of Lowestoft Magistrate’s Court.
According to a press release by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) UK, on 28 June 2013 the Suffolk plumber attempted the repair of a faulty boiler at a Lowestoft home without having met the UK legal requirement for gas fitting. He should have been registered with Gas Safe. Barry Goodge failed to complete the repairs and left the boiler lacking a crucial component, claiming that it was impossible to acquire the needed replacement part.
During the hearing at Lowestoft Magistrate’s Court on February 19 2014, it was revealed that the householder later had to contact a registered gas fitter. This expert inspected the faulty boiler and came upon a gas pipe that had been left uncapped. He instantly capped it off and sourced the allegedly unobtainable replacement part for the repair work. He then made a report to the Gas Safe Register, which proceeded to inform the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Barry Goodge was charged with two breaches of the Gas Safety Regulations 1998, which also addresses installation and use, and he pleaded guilty. He was given an 18-month suspension and a 36-week prison sentence, and had to pay £599 and £80 victim surcharge for the two breaches.
The dangers of unsafe gas work
Many a times, people give in to the temptation to hire unqualified gas fitters, perhaps due to a harsh economy and reduced spending power. The construction of a home is understandably an expensive affair even when you are not going for the grandiose. It’s not just about putting up the building, but also about the finishing which includes the plumbing system.
All the same, forgoing the maintenance services of your gas system for a couple of years due to a dwindled bank account is not a plausible reason to court danger.
The real concerns here are how often you have your boilers serviced, how well maintained your gas supplies are, and who does the gas repairs. Gas leaks occur for a number of reasons such as poorly installed fittings and appliances, badly maintained gas supplies, and un-serviced boilers. They are often behind most fatal gas explosions in the UK.
Gas leaks can also kill through poisoning. An undetected carbon monoxide leakage will easily finish off an entire household. This gas is especially dangerous because it has no smell, and its symptomatic headaches and other flu-like symptoms mislead people into thinking they have merely caught the flu. The ultimate prevention of gas leaks is competence in the gas engineer who installs and services the systems.
How to ensure your gas fitter is competent
According to HSE, only fully trained and competent engineers should be hired to install and repair gas fittings and appliances. Therefore, when hiring a gas engineer confirm that they are registered with Gas safe. Your gas fitter should bear a Gas Safe ID card indicating who they are and their qualifications for working with various gas appliances. This may cost you a pretty penny but it’s worth it. After all you are entrusting them with your life.
People who run gas work operations without the Gas Safe registration are flouting the law and punishable by imprisonment or fines, or both. Barry Goodge’s crimes were carrying out gas work in total disregard of the law and endangering life by leaving a domestic boiler in a condition likely to cause gas leaks.
Following the closing of the case, HSE Inspector Ivan Brooke warned that “HSE will not hesitate to take action in cases of unsafe and unregistered gas work, and will always hold offenders to account.”
Secure your life now
It is in your best interests to hire only registered gas fitters to do your boiler and gas system repairs. If you have concerns regarding the safety of the work being done, call us today on 0800 1488 677. Our health and safety consultants will immediately give you expert advice on the legal and safety steps to take.