Plumber fined over unsafe gas work

A Kent-based plumber has been fined after an old woman suffered dizziness, headaches and falls as a result of his dangerous work.

Paul Hockey, trading as PCH Plumbing, of Wrotham, taped over a gas flue in a flat directly above the 92-year-old on 4 July 2013.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ruled that the work at the property in Borough Green breached gas safety regulations.

Combustion products unable to escape

Mr Hockey was installing two extractor units at the flat and wanted to vent them through the loft, where he found two gas flues and assumed one was the supply and the other an extract for an unused gas boiler serving the upstairs flat.

He therefor,e cut into one of the pipes, used it to vent the extractors and then taped over the bottom open section of the flue to prevent insects getting in.

But a visit by an inspector from Southern Gas Networks on 26 August 2013 found the taped-over flue served the downstairs flat and the products of combustion were unable to escape and had built up in the flat.

The women in the flat was re-housed temporarily while remedial work was carried out and suffered no long-term effects.

Making a plumber accident claim

Unsafe gas work can be extremely dangerous. In some cases it can lead to potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning, although there was no proof of this happening in the case of Mr Hockey that was brought before Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court.

Accident Advice Helpline offers support with all sorts of different work accident personal injury compensation cases, including plumber accidents, so if you’ve suffered at the hands of dangerous work then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Mr Hockey, of West Street, Wrotham, pleaded guilty to breaching the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was consequently fined a total of £1,250 and ordered to pay £500 in prosecution costs.


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