Health and Safety News

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Illegal gas fitter's "incompetence exposed homeowner to serious risk"

The plastic material which had been pushed into a gap where the flue meets the boiler chimneyA Barnsley plumber, who left a householder in danger after posing as a qualified gas engineer and badly fitting a new boiler at their home, has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Self-employed trader Mark Dixon of Royston, Barnsley, charged the homeowner £1,200 to carry out the work at the property on Darton Street but when independent gas experts were called to investigate, the work was classed as an 'immediate danger'.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution against Mr. Dixon, told Sheffield Crown Court that his incompetence had exposed the homeowner to serious risk.

The court heard Mr. Dixon carried out the installation between 9 October and 30 November 2010. The householder reported the issue to Gas Safe Register in January 2011 after the boiler failed to work properly despite several attempts to fix it by Mr Dixon.

The Gas Safe Regional Investigations officer found the boiler's chimney had not been properly connected to the flue and Mr. Dixon had pushed plastic insulation material down a separation gap to try to form a seal. This defect was deemed immediately dangerous as the material would melt when temperatures rose causing fumes to enter the roof space.

Mark Dixon of Pools Lane, Royston, Barnsley, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, plus 180 hours' community service. A compensation order for £1,200 to the householders involved was also made.


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