In June, Bournemouth Crown Court sentenced a self-employed gas engineer who used false registration numbers after carrying out gas work and for also breaching an HSE Prohibition Notice.
The engineer carried out work at properties in Dorset between December 2017 and April 2019 whilst not registered with the Gas Safe Register, gas appliances were incorrectly installed and he used false Gas Safe Register registration numbers on the paperwork he issued.
In September 2018 the Health and Safety Executive served the engineer with a Prohibition Notice forbidding him from undertaking further gas work whilst not registered with the Gas Safe Register. The engineer breached the Prohibition Notice by continuing to carry out unregistered gas work.
The engineer plead guilty to breaching regulations under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and also the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was sentenced to a three-year community supervision order, ordered to undertake 200 hours unpaid work and undertake 30 days of offender rehabilitation work. He was also ordered to pay £900 compensation to a number of homeowners for the substandard work he undertook at their homes.
This case is not an isolated one. In addition to gas engineers falsely claiming to be registered with the Gas Safe Register and using the Gas Safe Register logo on paperwork etc. there have been similar cases of electrical contractors prosecuted for falsely claiming to be accredited by the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) and using their logo dishonestly.
For the customer, recognisable third-party accreditation schemes such as Gas Safe Register, the NICEIC and many others exist to provide confidence that they have selected a responsible contractor who has achieved and demonstrated a level of competence in their industry. Rather than accepting any claim of accreditation at face value (and in advance of any work being carried out) it is a sensible precaution to check that any scheme the contractor claims to be accredited by that they actually are. In the case of the Gas Safe Register this is simple process, ask to see the engineers Gas Safe Register card (displays a photo of the engineer, the valid from and expiry dates and a list of the types of work the engineer is qualified to carry out). Even if all you have is the engineers Gas Safe license number their details can easily be validated via the Gas Safe Register website.
This ‘due diligence’ is nothing to feel awkward about it, ensuring that the contractors you have working on your gas appliances, electrical installations etc. have the necessary competence to do so is vital. Contractors who are unwilling to verify evidence of their qualifications and registration status with the accreditation schemes they claim to be affiliated with could be a warning sign.
If you have any questions on any of the issues raised in the above article, please contact Gary Foggo.