Monthly Archives: August 2012

Essex Plumber Receives Prison Sentence for Endangering Family

Essex plumber, Lee Lawrence, has received a twelve-month suspended prison sentence and 180 hours of unpaid community service from Colchester Magistrates’ Court after his firm, Amber Plumbing Solutions, fitted a dangerous boiler in what was to be a child’s bedroom in a house in Clacton-On-Sea. Gas Safe and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) conducted a joint investigation that concluded in Lee Lawrence being charged with three violations of gas safety regulations.

The firm had before carried out bathroom work for the household and they were subsequently asked to return to perform gas work. This involved installing a gas cooker in the kitchen and a boiler in a bedroom. After the boiler’s connection in July it frequently cut out, which led to the family contacting a Gas Safe registered engineer. This engineer then alerted Gas Safe and HSE as he as so concerned about the safety of this boiler.

Several defects were found with the work carried out by the Amber Plumbing Solutions by a Gas Safe regional investigations officer. HSE also found that the advertising flyers advertising the firm and also their website had the Gas Safe logo and falsely stated that the firm was a Gas Safe registered company.

Lee Lawrence was found guilty of two violations of Regulation 3 (7) of the Gas Safe (Installation & use Regulations) 1998 and breaching Regulation 4 of the Gas Safety regulations. He was fined £5,400 in compensation to the householder and £2,385 costs in combination with his suspended prison sentence and hours of unpaid community service.

Following the hearing Edward Crick, a HSE Inspector, said that Mr Lawrence’s actions could have had far more serious consequences and that him falsely claiming to be a member of the Gas Safe Register is a serious offence. He then stated –

“Any person having work done on gas appliances or pipework should thoroughly check the credentials of the individual doing the job. A registered Gas Safe engineer will be delighted to give you their registration number and this can be checked immediately on line or over the phone. HSE will take robust action against those who flout the regulations.”

Three Companies fined for the Fall of Two Construction Workers

Three companies have been fined £232,000 in fines and costs by Exeter Crown Court after a platform that two employees of were working on in an Exeter building site collapsed and fell down a lift shaft for four storeys, causing them to sustain severe injuries in February 2008. The incident occurred in a site where new student accommodation is being built at what used to be the Elmfield Nursery in New North Road.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the case to the attention of the court. Cowlin Construction Ltd ordered to pay £85,000 in fines and £20,000 in costs by the court . Prestoplan Ltd, ordered to pay £50,000 and £20,000 towards costs and Somerset Carpenters Ltd, the labourer suppliers, ordered to pay £35,000 fines with £22,000 costs.

Somerset Carpenters had previously been served with a prohibition notice by the HSE after they inspected the site. This should have put a halt to work at the construction site until preventative measures had been put in place to stop workers from potentially falling down the lift shaft. Following this, a wooden platform was built over the shaft but a fortnight later it collapsed and caused Ricki Slocombe (35) and Matthew Blackmore (29), both from Bridgwater, to fall to the bottom floor.

Mr Blackmore broke his back and Mr Slocombe broke both his legs and was forced to use a wheelchair for several months and he has been unable to work since this incident occurred.

HSE inspector, Simon Chilcott said that this terrifying accident could have easily led to the deaths of the two men. He added –

“Contractors and employers must make sure they have taken all reasonable measures to provide a safe environment for workers to work in and that any temporary structures are secure.”