Don’t Fall Victim to a Gas Cowboy
According to gas safety watchdog Gas Safe there could be as many as 20,000 illegal gas workers in the United Kingdom.
Using an illegal gas worker could put lives at risk. Carbon Monoxide poisoning could result from errors made by untrained, unregulated workers. This guide outlines the risks involved in using a ‘gas cowboy’ and tells you how to spot them, and if you do, what you should do about it.
The risks of using a Gas Cowboy
The main thing to remember is that the cheapest option will usually turn out to be the most expensive in the long run and that work carried out by an uncertified engineer could be fraught with mistakes that could lead to fatal consequences.
Gas cowboys are not inspected by Gas Safe which means they will not keep up with the latest training and may be using incorrect equipment. They may be completely unqualified or hold inappropriate qualifications. Work undertaken by uncertified gas workers will not fulfil employer’s or landlord’s duties under the Gas Safety Regulations and will not comply with the Building Regulations. It will not be certified nor guaranteed leaving the customer without a leg to stand on should a problem arise.
As a result of using a gas cowboy you could be left with unsafe appliances and this could lead to accidents, incidents, ill health and even death.
What is a Gas Cowboy?
Gas Safe says that illegal gas workers can be divided into three categories as follows:
- Full illegal workers: No qualifications or training whatsoever
- Lapsed illegal workers: Previously held a Gas Safe registration but failed to keep it up to date leaving a distinct gap in their knowledge of the most up to date regulations
- Part time illegal workers: Work for a Gas Safe registered business but carry out ‘private jobs’ in their spare time. Likely to work safely and within the latest regulations, however their work will not be insured and there will be no comeback for customers should a problem arise.
How to spot a Gas Cowboy
Firstly you must always ask to see the engineer’s ID card. All registered installers will readily show you the card so if there is a fuss over your request you should immediately start to be wary. You can check the validity of the installer using Gas Safe Check an installer service.
What to do if you suspect a gas worker to be illegal
Gas Safe has a dedicated free phone number to call: 0800 408 5500 or alternatively there is an online form on their website. As much information as possible should be provided so that Gas Safe dedicated investigation team can gather enough evidence to make the maximum number of successful prosecutions. This will in turn lead to a reduction in the number of life-threatening situations created by illegal gas workers.
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