An unregistered gas engineer received fines exceeding £20,000 for leaving the customers home in a dangerous state. The house could have exploded. The engineer is Darren Masters, he works for D Masters Plumbing and Heating and is 33 years of age. Even though the Health and Safety Executive and the Gas Safety Register have not approved his membership, he has been working from January of 2017 through October of 2018. Darren Masters told his customers he had a membership to the Gas Safety Register. He falsified his registration to perform work on fires, hobs and boilers.
D Masters Plumbing and Heating made an appearance at Truro Crown Court. An admission was made for 11 violations of safety and health regulations. The prosecutor for the case was Ian Graham. He stated the charges encompassed four separate victims. Work was performed for two of these individuals after the company learned an investigation was being conducted by the Health and Safety Executive. The first victim realised her heater required repair after leaving the hospital. Darren Masters was hired because her alarm for carbon monoxide was going off repeatedly, showing carbon monoxide was present.
A different tradesman inspected the work performed. The determination was made the work did not meet the proper standards. The victim had no choice other than hiring a different company to correct the previous work. The result was an added expense of £1,300. The most serious case involved work performed by Mr. Masters in June of 2017. A registered gas engineer came to the home to perform work on a hob and gas boiler. The work was performed by Darren Masters after interceding. The work performed resulted in a situation deemed as immediately dangerous.
Mr. Masters sent a text to the owner of the property stating despite the open pipe, the boiler was ready to be used. Once the hob was switched on, the property would be flooded with gas. This may have resulted in an explosion. The woman had no choice other than paying an additional £6,500 to make certain her home was safe. The majority of work performed by Darren Masters was in the Newquay area. The Probation Service enabled Tony Ciocci to speak for Mr. Masters. He stated Darren Masters understands the seriousness of the offences committed.
At the age of 16, Mr. Masters acquired an apprenticeship for a heating engineer, but he was never qualified. In 2015, he began supervising eight plumbers. As his health worsened, he was having difficulty coping. This was when he abandoned his previous work and became self-employed. Finances for his family started to become tight. This was when he demonstrated the kind of behavior he was eventually sentenced for. Currently, Darren Masters is working for the maintenance sector. His contacts include a local builder and two estate agents.
As the solicitor for Mr. Masters, Barry Hilliard stated his client has a working knowledge regarding gas due to his work with individuals regulated within the industry. He also stated Darren Masters’s stepson and young son have been hired as his apprentices. The Recorder for the sentencing was Philip Mott, QC. He stated Mr. Masters had performed gas fitting work for approximately 21 months despite not being recognised by the Gas Safe system as a registered worker. The paperwork and messages of Darren Masters were claimed as regulated. A wide range of registration numbers was also invented.
The work performed was on a false basis, and continued despite contact being made by investigators from health and safety. Mr. Masters has a history of work performed for clients showing incompetently fitted gas boilers and gas fires. His work resulted in a carbon monoxide or gas leak into the homes. If death had resulted from his work, he would be facing a minimum prison sentence of five years. Since the only harm was financial, Darren Masters was fined as opposed to being sent to prison. Due to mitigating factors including Mr. Masters’s family situation and remorse, he received a suspension for a 22 and one-half month sentence.
Darren Masters must pay the four victims a total of £11,902 and complete unpaid work for 200 hours. He is also responsible for the prosecution costs of £9,068. According to a Health and Safety HM Inspector, the gas work performed by Mr. Masters is among the most serious cases ever seen. His actions were classified as reckless and were against the law on numerous occasions. The outcome of the proceedings is meant to be a warning to any other unregistered gas engineers. The message sent by the sentence clearly shows these types of cases will be treated seriously by the courts.
The conclusion of the HSE (Health and Safety Executive were Darren Masters made false claims he was registered with Gas Safe during interactions with his customers. This included using fake gas Safe engineer numbers for the purpose of signing documentation. The determination of the investigation was Darren Masters used false representation to perform four different services. Mr. Masters pleaded guilty for the breach of Gas Safety Regulations 1998 including 26(1), 3(7), 3(3) and 3(1) in addition to the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, section 33(1).
Only Gas Safe registered engineers are permitted to perform gas work to prevent possible injuries or death by making certain the engineer meets the highest standards. All engineers registered with Gas Safe are qualified for the work they perform. Ensuring the work is performed according to the correct standard protects the public from both unacceptable risks and serious harm.
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