5 Month Sentence for Plumbing Professional…

| General

In early December 2022, the Portsmouth Magistrates Court imposed a five-month custodial sentence on a heating and plumbing engineer following a probe launched by the Health and Safety Executive which found that the professional lacked the competence to carry out the work. The HSE commented that he had ignored the rules. It urged persons acting in this area to ensure they are registered on the professional Gas Safe scheme before carrying out regulated activity.       

What Happened In The Case?

The professional had been instructed booked to put in place a new central heating system and a boiler for a domestic consumer in the new year of 2020. At first, everything seemed fine, and the professional completed the work.   

Turn For the Worse

However, less than one week later the consumer experienced technical issues and sought a second opinion from a Gas Safe Register professional. The independent specialist commented that the work of the heating and plumbing professional fell significantly short of modern industry standards. The independent specialist underlined the extent of the poor workmanship exhibited by the professional by advising that more work was required on the system given the extent of the state it was left in when the work was initially completed. This would enable the system to measure up to the modern-day level and make it safe for consumers to use. 

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

The HSE agreed with the independent Gas Safe professional’s assessment ruling that the professional did not meet the required standards to be involved with gas appliances. The HSE perused the Gas Safe Register and found that the professional’s details were absent.   

De Ja Vu?

When the HSE Executive looked into his past they found that the professional had received a criminal conviction in April 2016 for similar misdemeanours involving gas appliances. The Regulator ruled that he knew his legal obligations in this area.   

Feet to the Fire?

To his credit, the professional admitted in court to violating Section 22 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3 of the Gas Safe Installation and Use Regulations 1998 which obliges such professionals to be competent and registered. 

Lessons Learned?

Legal professionals need to be advising their clients with an employed workforce to ensure they adhere to their legal obligations under Regulation 3 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They should be doing all they can to support the workforce and the wider public. Those in these businesses who have responsibility for the adherence to such legal requirements should be advised by legal professionals to use a professional service provider who specializes in Gas related Services and is on the Register of Gas Safe providers of professional services. Another step would be to signpost the respective person with responsibilities in this area to the Health and Safety Executive for advice and guidance on how to respond to such gas-related incidents. 

Another option to consider is to assess if a person installing boilers on domestic properties is qualified to conduct gas work. Legal teams should advise that if such a person is not recorded on this index then it is a violation of the law and they cannot conduct any related activity on such equipment. Such professionals who specialize in services involving gas are obliged from a legal perspective to have an identification card if something goes wrong as there is a risk of 

  • leaks 
  • fire and 
  • with carbon monoxide contamination 

if machinery is neither incorrectly fitted nor maintained.  


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[SOURCE 1] Construction Index – Plumber jailed for illegal gas work – Construction Index – 5th December 2022 - Plumber jailed for illegal gas work (theconstructionindex.co.uk)

[SOURCE 2] Health and Safety Executive – Engineer jailed for illegal gas work – 2nd December 2022 - Engineer jailed for illegal gas work | HSE Media Centre

[SOURCE 3] Regulation 3 Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

[SOURCE 4] Section 22 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974



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