Self-employed electrician sentenced for gas safety failings

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Gareth Symons, a self-employed electrician, has received a suspended sentence after conducting gas work he was not registered or competent to do

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard how Gareth Symons, of Gareth C Symons Electrical Services, quoted for a refurbishment of the client’s property in Exmouth. The job included gas works for which Symons employed a fitter, who fitted a new gas boiler and fittings in August 2016 but did not complete the installation.

After the client complained about the reliability of the fitter, Symons went to the property and completed the required work to ensure the gas boiler was working.

When the client smelled gas, she contacted Wales & West Utilities who found faults with the fittings and advised the boiler should not be used. The client attempted to contact Gareth Symons for him to come back to correct the faults, but no response was received.

Gas safety

An inspector from Gas Safe Register later inspected the work and found numerous defects on the installation and issued a warning notice.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Symons was not and never has been a member of Gas Safe Register. He was not registered or competent to undertake gas work.

Gareth Symons pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 3(3) and 33(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to a 12-month suspended custodial order with 210 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £7,979.90.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector, Paul Mannell, said: “Mr Symons undertook gas work but was not and never has been a member of the Gas Safe Register. Furthermore, immediately following completion of the installation, he failed to test the connection to the installation pipework to verify that it was gas-tight and examine the appliance in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

“All gas work must be completed by a registered, and therefore HSE approved, Gas Safe engineer to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”

Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

These regulations (ISBN 0 11 079655 1) are the United Kingdom Statutory Instrument regulating various activities relating to the safety of installations and appliances using Natural gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

The regulations cover various aspects of the supply and use of gas, and the qualifications and duties of people involved with doing so. Provisions of the regulations with which the public is most familiar are:

  • The duties of landlords to ensure the safety of gas installations and appliances in rented accommodation, attested by a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate which must be obtained at least annually and a copy given to tenants.
  • The qualifications required of people working on gas installations and appliances.

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