Fireplace by Heals is an Essex fireplace installation company which has recently been fined for poor work which put a family’s life at risk. They are specialists in gas fire installations and were commissioned to install a new fireplace on 28th February 2012 by a local man in Leigh-On-Sea.
Les Heal, who is in fact the company’s director, went to the household to prepare it for the new fireplace by removing part of the gas pipe and capping it. It was 5am before the household owner came home following a nightshift to the distinctive smell of gas all around the house, even in the master bedroom where his wife was sleeping unaware of the potential danger. Following an investigation it turned out that the gas pipe Mr Heal had fitted had not been capped using the correct fitting. In addition to this it was capped in an inaccessible place under the floorboards which is against UK Standards.
When the company appeared in court on the 30th August, they were found to be at fault having not used a gas-safe-registered engineer to complete the work on the pipe. This was despite the fact they have a proven history of doing so in the past. It was found that the reason why Mr Heals completed this part of the job was down to staff shortages that day but unfortunately for the company this did not hold up in court.
It was said in court that it was “only a matter of luck” that the homeowner came into the house when he did. If this had not happened then potentially it would have caused serious injury to the family member sleeping in the master bedroom, or damage to the property. As a result Fireplace by Heals were fined for breaching regulations of the Gas Safety Act 1998 and the Health and Safety at work Act 1974. They were fined £4,000 and had to pay a further £10,000 in costs.
The fine comes as no surprise following several high profile cases involving gas leaks that have been in the news over the last 12 months or so. Fortunately, this has not been one of them. It is reported that on average over 250,000 gas jobs in a year are completed illegally without the use of a qualified gas engineer, which can be the main cause for gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning and gas fires.
Article written by Tom White representing gas fireplace experts www.castfireplaces.co.uk.