Engineer fined for botched 20p piece ‘repair’

A gas engineer has been fined for unsafe work after he used a 20pence piece to ‘repair’ the boiler at a property in West Hill.

Mark Sampson, 42, of Watermans Meadow, Bridgwater, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Exeter Magistrates’ Court last week for a safety breach following an investigation into his actions.

The court heard that Sampson, an engineer listed on the official ‘gas safe’ register, was instructed by the company he worked for to service the boiler at a property in Brackendown, West Hill, on March 19 this year.

He carried out the service, which was part of the homeowner’s contract with their energy supplier, but said he needed to order some parts and left the property, leaving the boiler working.

He contacted his boss to seek approval from the energy supplier to obtain the parts, but the supplier became suspicious and instructed another gas engineer from a separate company to visit the home on the same day to check if the parts were really needed.

The second engineer found some of the parts were not needed and that Sampson had used a 20pence piece to ‘repair’ a viewing glass in the boiler which meant it had to be classed as ‘immediately dangerous’.

Sampson was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £353 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “Mark Sampson was gas safe registered, which makes it even more shocking that he failed to carry out this work to the correct standard thereby putting the homeowners and any visitors to the property at risk.

“Using a 20pence piece in this way is totally unacceptable and meant the boiler was classed as ‘immediately dangerous’ posing a risk of fire and carbon monoxide gas leaking from the boiler.

“There were signs of heat damage inside and outside the boiler before Mark Sampson carried out this ‘repair’, so he should have been alerted to the risk of fire.”