Unfortunately, there continues to be no shortage of news stories about illegal and dangerous gas work carried out by unregistered, unqualified “gas engineers”. Therefore, it is vital that you stay vigilant and always employ a Gas Safe registered engineer that is qualified to work on your gas appliance and your fuel type. You can find a Gas Safe registered engineer or check your engineers’ credentials on the Gas Safe Register or by calling the free helpline on 0800 408 5500. Additionally, always ask to see your engineer's Gas Safe ID card and make sure you check the back of it for the appliances and gas types they are qualified to work on. Ensuring gas work is carried out by a qualified and gas registered engineer is critical to protecting yourself and your community against potential gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, fires, and explosions.
- Exeter Crown Court Convicts Unregistered Gas Engineer
- North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court Sentences Self-Employed Plumber
- North East Engineer Imprisoned for Illegal Gas Work
- Fallow Fields Fitter Fined for Breaching Gas Safety Regulations
- Further Information
Exeter Crown Court Convicts Unregistered Gas Engineer
Peter Strudwick, an unregistered gas engineer based in Teignmouth, was in court on charges of conducting gas work while unregistered and producing false paperwork. He pleaded guilty to breaking Regulations 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Section 33 (1(I) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. For each of his offences, Exeter Crown Court issued Strudwick a 10-month prison sentence (all suspended for 12-months).
On the 16th March 2019, Peter Strudwick conducted an illegal commercial gas safety check at a Teignmouth takeaway restaurant using his employer’s Gas Safe registration number. Concerns regarding gas safety issues and irregularities were raised by a Teignbridge District Council Officer, and further problems were uncovered during subsequent visits by Gas Safe registered engineers.
This resulted in an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which discovered that Peter Strudwick was not registered to carry out gas safety checks and that he had falsely used his employer’s Gas Safe registration number on his paperwork. Speaking for the Health and Safety Executive, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said:
“Mr Strudwick undertook a gas safety check which he knew he was not registered to do.
He falsely used his employer’s Gas Safe Register details to deceive people into believing his work was legitimate.
All gas work must be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”
Reported by HVP: Heating, Ventilating & Plumbing on 8th April 2021, ‘Commercial Gas Engineer Sentenced for Working While Unregistered’, last accessed 9th September 2021.
North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court Sentences Self-Employed Plumber
In April 2018, Jeffrey Lewis, a self-employed plumber from Stoke-on-Trent, carried out an illegal, incorrect, and unsafe installation of a boiler in a domestic property. Unregistered and under-qualified (Mr Lewis has not undergone any relevant gas work training since the 1970s), he falsified a Gas Safe registration number and issued an invalid gas safety certificate to the property owner.
In addition to exposing a lack of appropriate training, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Jeffrey Lewis was in contravention of a Prohibition Notice issued to him by the HSE in 2015. This notice prohibited him from conducting gas work until he was competent to do so and Gas Safe registered.
Wendy Campbell, an HSE Inspector, commented that:
“Mr Lewis knew that he was not registered to undertake gas work, but still put the occupier and her family at serious risk by carrying out the work.
All gas work must be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life. A gas boiler must be properly commissioned by a competent gas engineer before being left operating otherwise you cannot be sure that it is working safely.”
Jeffery Lewis was charged with 2 violations of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations of 1998 and with breaching Section 33 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 1-year imprisonment (suspended for 18 months), a four-month curfew (7 pm-6 am), 20 rehabilitation activity days, and a £1000 fine.
Reported by HVP: Heating, Ventilating & Plumbing on 19th April 2021, ‘Engineer Who Hadn’t Undergone Gas Training Since 1970s Sentenced’, last accessed 9th September 2021.
North East Engineer Imprisoned for Illegal Gas Work
Dean Mulholland Blues, an unregistered gas fitter from Newton Aycliffe, was sentenced by Newcastle Crown Court to a 3-year custodial sentence and has been disqualified from becoming the director of a company for 12 years. Mr Blues pleaded guilty to 24 violations of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that Dean Mulholland Blues was not competent to carry out gas work and had never been Gas Safe registered. The defendant had conducted unsafe and illegal gas work at several properties across North East England, putting many people’s lives at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning, asphyxiation, fires, and explosions. The court heard that between September 2016 and December 2017, Mr Blues advertised his services on social media under false names. He used three bank accounts and multiple telephone numbers to evade detection.
HSE Inspector Jonathon Wills spoke after the hearing:
“Anyone employed to work on gas appliances in domestic premises must be a Gas Safe registered engineer and competent in that area of gas work. The gas engineer’s competencies are clearly marked on the back of the engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card. If in any doubt you can contact the Gas Safe Register or check their website to see if the engineer is registered.
If anyone has had any gas work carried out by Mr Blues, I urge them to ensure that the work is now checked by a registered Gas Safe Register engineer as soon as possible.”
Reported by HVP: Heating, Ventilating & Plumbing on 3rd June 2021, ‘Unregistered Sentenced for Illegal Gas Work in North East’, last accessed 9th September 2021.
Fallow Fields Fitter Fined for Breaching Gas Safety Regulations
An unregistered gas fitter from Fallow Fields, Mark Whitham, has incurred a £2000 fine for incorrectly fitting a new gas range cooker in a North Devon residential care home on the 24th December 2020. The defendant had damaged the residential home’s gas cooker while fitting a new kitchen. He subsequently ignored instructions in the new appliance's installation guide pertaining to Gas Safe registered engineers and Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, choosing instead to install the new appliance illegally.
Over the following 24 hours, staff at the residential home experienced problems operating the cooker. They decided to contact their Gas Safe registered engineer who uncovered a substantial gas leak between the gas supply connection and the cooker. A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that Mr Whitham was not Gas Safe registered. HSE Inspector Simon Jones had this to say:
“Mark Whitham undertook gas work, which he knew he was not registered to do. In this case, Mark Whitham’s unregistered gas work put the lives of vulnerable people at real risk from fire and explosion.
All gas work must be carried out by Gas Safe registered engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”
Mark Whitham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 3(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. In addition to issuing him with a £2000 fine, the Exeter Crown Court sentenced Mr Whitham to a six-month custodial sentence for each offence (suspended for 12 months) and 120 hours of unpaid work.
Reported by HVP: Heating, Ventilating & Plumbing on 5th August 2021, ‘Fitter Sentenced for Unsafe Gas Cooker Installation at Devon Care Home’, last accessed 9th September 2021.
For help finding a Gas Safe registered engineer or to check your engineer’s credentials, please visit the Gas Safe Register website, or call their free hotline on 0800 408 5500.
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