• Robert Spicer

Illegal gas boiler installation: health and safety prosecution

Illegal gas boiler installation: fitter and engineer fined

Health and Safety Executive v Michael Birch and Peter Hopper (2015) Bodmin magistrates’ court, December 2

Michael Birch, an unregistered gas fitter, and Peter Hopper, a gas engineer, have been fined following the illegal installation of a gas boiler.

Significant points of the case

  • In June 2013 Birch fitted the boiler at a house in St Austell. The homeowner contacted Gas Safe Register, which found that the boiler flue had not been fitted to the manufacturer’s instructions and could not have been properly commissioned for safety purposes.

  • Birch was not registered with Gas Safe and should not have attempted to install the boiler. Hopper had illegally commissioned the work, knowing fully that Birch was not allowed to work on gas appliances.

Birch was fined £2000 plus £5000 costs for breaches of regulation 3, Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.

Hopper was fined £1500 plus £5000 costs under regulation 33 of the 1998 Regulations.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that this had been a deliberate attempt to claim that the work which Birch had carried out was legal. Both men had tried to circumvent gas safety regulations which were there for the sole purpose of protecting the public.

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