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Gas safety negligence results in community service and fines

A Radstock man has been prosecuted for illegal gas work at properties in Shepton Mallet, Midsomer Norton and Paulton.

John Duncan Chalmers, of Jubilee Road, Radstock, worked on boilers at three houses in the locations between April and October 2011 without being registered with Gas Safe, as the law requires.

He appeared at Bath Magistrates’ Court after the Health and Safety Executive investigated his activity.

Magistrates were told that Mr Chalmers wasn’t legally competent to undertake any gas work because he was unregistered and did not hold any current qualifications.

Mr Chalmers pleaded guilty to two separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for each of the three boiler connections.

He was sentenced to undertake 240 hours of unpaid community work, to be carried out over a 12 month period, and was also ordered to pay £10,000 in costs. In addition, the court told him to pay the owner of the property in Shepton Mallett £713 in compensation.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Mehtaab Hamid said: “John Chalmers is a serial offender who has already been prosecuted for doing gas work without being registered or competent do so. He knows what the law requires, but he again chose to work outside it.

“The Gas Safe Register exists to protect the public from fitters like him who are prepared to work illegally and carry out potentially dangerous gas work that could put lives at risk.”

A Blackburn landlord has also been fined after she ignored repeated warnings about arranging an annual gas safety check at a property with five gas appliances.

The HSE and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council made numerous attempts to contact Samera Hussain, of Shakeshaft Street in Blackburn, between October 2012 and April 2013, but she failed to provide proof of a gas safety record for a property on Cumberland Street.

Blackburn Magistrates’ Court heard that a tenant had lived in the house for nearly two years but a gas engineer only visited the property to carry out a safety check just before she moved out in June 2013.

Ms Hussain pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to arrange an annual gas safety check and failing to comply with an improvement notice.

Ms Hussain was fined £260 and ordered to pay £207 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Richard Clarke said: “Mrs Hussain potentially put her tenant’s life at risk by failing to arrange a gas safety check for nearly two years.

“We gave her several chances to organise an inspection, but she ignored all of these. As a result, we had no choice but to take legal action against her.

“Dozens of people are killed or badly harmed every year from carbon monoxide poisoning so it is vital that landlords take the risks seriously. We will continue to prosecute landlords who think the law doesn’t apply to them.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Once again the HSE talk about potentially putting peoples' lives at risk and the punishment is £467.00 including costs. Where's the justice in that it's probably less than she takes in a month for rent.

    The system needs to be changed and punishments doled out that significantly disadvantage the perpetraters of these crimes enough to deter them from ever doing it again.

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