A self-employed worker has been fined £1,900 after undertaking illegal gas work at homes which could have resulted in serious carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Stephen Cowell, who trades as SC Services, after working at about 40 properties in the Cumbrian town of Appleby-in-Westmorland performing illegal gas work.
He traded despite being in violation of the law by being unregistered with Gas Safe.
In addition, Cowell, 66, had worked on gas fires at 25 of the homes, even though he had no qualifications to undertake this work, Carlisle Magistrates’ Court was told on Wednesday, March 19.
HSE was first told of Cowell in July 2012 after a Gas Safe Register investigator saw him removing a gas fire from a home. This sparked an investigation which showed that he had earlier been registered through his ex-employer, but that his registration had lapsed over a year previously.
Illegal gas work placed lives in danger
Even so, Cowell continued to undertake gas work and put lives in danger. If people had been hurt, they would have been entitled to make a personal injury claim against him.
HSE inspector Matthew Tinsley said after the case: “Mr Cowell potentially put lives in danger by carrying out gas work he wasn’t qualified or registered to do.”
Cowell eventually joined the Gas Safe Register in September 2012 but failed to undertake yearly gas safety checks. Later that month, he twice made false entries in the records for operating pressures.
Cowell, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 by not being registered to carry out gas work.
He also pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by making false entries on two annual gas safety records.