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Unregistered gas fitter given prison sentence after unsafe gas work

Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
7th December 2017

A self-employed fitter has been jailed after carrying out gas work that endangered a young family-of-four.

Cardiff Magistrates’ Court heard how Eric Parry, trading as EHP Building Services, removed pipework that supplied gas to a cooking hob at a family home in Rhoose, South Wales without sealing the end of the pipe to ensure it was in a safe condition. Gas Safe Register who inspected his work classed it as ‘Immediately Dangerous’. 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Eric Parry completed this work in May 2016, despite having previously been served a Prohibition Notice in 2011 for unregistered gas work. Eric Parry of Parc Bryn Derwen, Pontyclun pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3 (2) and 22 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and breaching Regulations 3(1), 3(3) and 6(2) of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998. He has today been sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay full costs of £1,788.38. 

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Gethyn Jones said:

“Eric Parry undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do and as a result he endangered a mother, father and their four-year-old twins. “All gas work must be completed by competent Gas Safe Registered engineers to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”

Phoenix comments: 

It is tragic that we report on carbon monoxide poisoning most months. It is essential that boilers are serviced annually and work is conducted by a registered gas engineer. More than 200 people go to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, which leads to around 50 deaths due to inadequately installed or unserviced gas appliances. 

After carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters the bloodstream and mixes with haemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body), to form carboxyhaemoglobin. When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this lack of oxygen causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die. Because carbon monoxide has no smell or taste, occupants can be unaware they are breathing in this dangerous gas. It is recommended that carbon monoxide monitors should be fitted to warn the occupant of any potential gas leaks. This is an appalling case whereby four lives were put at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a lack of planning and risk assessing. All contractors should be checked against the Gas Safe Register.