Barman installs gas boiler and puts lives at risk

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A pub worker has been sentenced for illegally installing gas pipework and a gas boiler at a flat in Torquay.

Geoffrey Voss, aged 59, who works as a barman at a pub in Torquay, installed the gas pipework and gas boiler at a flat on Old Torwood Road, Torquay despite him holding no competencies in gas work and despite him having never been registered with Gas Safe Register for any gas work.

He was prosecuted after his illegal activities were investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Voss’s illegal gas work came to light when the homeowner repeatedly asked him for the commissioning documentation for the new gas boiler that he had installed. Mr Voss never produced the document and the home owner then raised his concerns with Gas Safe Register.

During the HSE investigation Mr Voss admitted that he had not commissioned the gas boiler after he had installed it. Such commissioning should have included tests to ensure that the boiler that he installed wasn’t producing high levels of carbon monoxide, but he left the boiler working without the tests being undertaken, putting the homeowner at risk from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Geoffrey Voss of South Street, Torquay, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(3) and 33(1)(c) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations and was sentenced to 36 weeks imprisonment suspended for 2 years and ordered to pay £757 in costs.

HSE Inspector Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: “Only engineers with the correct competencies and who are registered with Gas Safe can legally carry out gas work and it is fortunate no-one was harmed as a result of Mr Voss’s illegal work.

“Once a gas boiler has been installed it should always be properly commissioned to ensure that it is operating safely. In this case Mr Voss did no such safety checks after his illegal work, leaving it to chance that there would not be a risk of fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning.”

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