A gas engineer from Somerset has been fined for leaving a boiler in a dangerous condition following an annual boiler service.
Bridgwater resident Mark Sampson, of Watermans Meadown, admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Section 7(a), in a hearing at Exeter Magistrates Court on September 3rd. This regulation obliges employees to take reasonable care towards their own health and safety and that of people who may be affected by their work. He was fined £1,000, with additional costs of £353.
The court was told that Mr Sampson, 42, performed gas work independently and as an employee of a local firm, and that both he and the company are registered with the Gas Safe Register. Mr Samspon had been told to perform a gas appliance service at a residence in the West Hill district of Brackendown on March 19th 2014 in order to fulfil a boiler service contract the homeowners had taken out with their energy company.
Mr Sampson performed the service, said that he needed to buy some components, and left the household, leaving the boiler in operation. He then asked his employer to seek the energy supplier’s approval for the parts.
The energy company’s staff were suspicious, and asked a separate company to check the boiler. Later that day, another gas engineer arrived at the residence to see what parts were needed.
Not only did the engineer discover that some of the components Mr Sampson asked for were not required, they found that Mr Sampson had ‘repaired’ the gas appliance’s viewing glass with a 20 pence piece. The boiler was therefore classed as ‘immediately dangerous’.
Simon Jones, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, said Mr Sampson’s actions were “even more shocking” than they would otherwise be by virtue of the fact that he was on the Gas Safe Register.
He said the perpetrator failed to perform his work to the standards necessary, which put the residents of the building and any visitors they had in danger.
Mr Jones described Mr Sampson’s 20 pence piece repair as “totally unacceptable”. He noted that the boiler showed signs of heat-related damage both internally and externally, indicating that it was potentially hazardous. Therefore, Mr Sampson should have realised that the ‘repair’ posed a fire, explosion and carbon monoxide risk.
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