Health and Safety – Unregistered Gas Fitter

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have recently prosecuted a self-employed man for illegally carrying out gas work at a number of homes in Appleby-in-Westmorland.  Frederick Stephen Cowell, who is known locally  as Stephen Cowell and trades as SC Services, carried out work for around 40 homes in the town despite not being registered with Gas Safe.

The HSE were first alerted to an issue back in July 2012 after an investigator from the Gas Safe Register witnessed Mr Cowell removing a gas fire from a house at Bongate Cross.

Further investigation by the HSE also found that Mr Cowell had previously been registered through his former employer, but that his registration had expired in April 2011. Despite not being registered Mr Cowell continued to carry out gas work and potentially put lives at risk.

Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Cowell had also worked on gas fires at a further 25 properties even though he did not have the qualifications required to carry out the work.

In September 2012 Mr Cowell finally joined the Gas Safe Register but failed to carry out annual gas safety checks properly and on two occasions in one month made entries in records for operating pressures which were clearly false.

Mr Cowell pleaded guilty to one breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 by not being registered to carry out gas work, and two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by making false entries on two annual gas safety records.

Mr Cowell was fined £1,900 and ordered to pay £4,123 in prosecution costs.

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