24 February, 2010
The importance of complying with gas safety rules has been highlighted by the prosecution of a gas engineer from Gloucestershire for not following the law. It was said to have been the second time that Royston Godsell, of Cheltenham, had been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for gas-related offences.
Such prosecutions serve to show how seriously the courts view gas safety and that any breaches will be dealt with strictly by them.
It was said in court that Mr Godsell had supplied and fitted a gas fire at a private property in Cheltenham in June 2009 without being registered with the Gas Safe Register. The fire failed to work and was later isolated and reported to HSE by a registered engineer. It was also reported that he had been warned previously on several occasions by HSE not to undertake gas work until he was competent and registered to so.
Mr Godsell pleaded guilty to breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and was fined £450 and ordered to pay costs of £1,346.90. It was the second time that HSE had prosecuted him: in July 2008, he had been fined £1,000 for a series of gas-related offences.
All providers of housing are under a legal duty to arrange maintenance of all gas pipe work, appliances and flues which are used by tenants by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Landlords also must arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. When such a check is carried out, a record of the inspection must be held for two years and a copy must be provided to each tenant within 28 days of the check being completed. A copy must also be issued before a new tenant moves into a property.
From April 2009, the Capita Gas Safe Register is the only gas installer registration scheme approved by the HSE under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, thus replacing the previous CORGI registration. All installers (including those used by landlords) wanting to undertake domestic gas work will need to be registered with the Gas Safe scheme in order to be able to lawfully carry out any work on both gas fittings and appliances in a property.
Carbon monoxide has no smell or taste which makes identifying its presence very difficult. It can kill people without warning. In order to avoid this happening, it is advised that all residential gas appliances are properly maintained and that an annual safety check is carried out. It may also be beneficial to install carbon monoxide detectors in the property as a precautionary measure.
Prosecutions such as these show how seriously the courts view breaches of gas safety laws. Anyone who owns residential accommodation should ensure that Gas Safe authorised engineers are used for any work carried out and that safety checks are carried out on an annual basis.