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Plumber refused to answer HSE’s questions over dangerous gas work

A Wakefield plumber who was suspected of carrying out dangerous gas work illegally has been fined after failing to answer questions put to him by an HSE inspector.

In February 2020, Luke Rodgers was alleged to have carried out illegal gas work to replace a boiler at a house in Tingley, Wakefield. The new boiler was left in such a dangerous condition that a registered gas engineer who attended the house had to make it safe by disconnecting it from the gas supply.

During a HSE interview under caution, Mr Rodgers claimed to have been hired to do the installation work only up to the point where it would then be connected to the gas supply. He claimed that he had arranged for a friend who was registered to complete all the gas work. Mr Rodgers also stated that another friend had assisted him with general labouring at the property.

During the interview, Mr Rodgers was unwilling to provide the identity of either person, which is an offence because it prevented the inspector from following reasonable lines of enquiry as part of the investigation.

At Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court, Luke Rodgers of Chapel Street, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33(1)(e) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £583 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.

After the hearing, HSE inspector David Beaton said: “The defendant blatantly failed to comply with a requirement under the Health and Safety at Work (etc) Act 1974. This prosecution would not have happened had the defendant provided the information.

“Hopefully, this will send a warning to others that failing to comply with Her Majesty’s Inspectors while they exercise their lawful powers will not be condoned by the HSE.”

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