Following prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a Derbyshire plumber has today been sent to prison after pleading guilty to a number of breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
Steven Colson was employed to refurbish a bathroom in Chesterfield in 2010.
Part of the work involved decommissioning, moving and recommissioning the boiler, but although Mr Colson told his customers he could do the job, he was not qualified to do so and was not registered with Gas Safe.
The customers became suspicious of his work and asked British Gas to give the boiler its annual service. The engineer found six defects – three of which were classed as immediately dangerous and three of which were classed as at risk or not to current standards. Mr Colson then admitted he was not qualified to carry out the work.
Derby Crown Court heard that Mr Colson had connected the boiler to the wrong type of flue and had failed to fit an inner flue, which is needed to disperse fumes. He had also terminated the flue at a louvered self-closing vent extractor, making it impossible for flue products to exit and combustion air to enter simultaneously, which could have led to a build-up of potentially lethal carbon monoxide fumes.
British Gas condemned the boiler immediately and notified HSE, which issued a Prohibition Notice preventing Mr Colson from carrying out any more gas fitting work until he was qualified to do so.
Mr Colson was sentenced to two months in prison and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.
Breaches of Health and Safety Regulations can in many cases lead to very large fines and prosecution costs, as well as up to two years imprisonment.
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