Prison sentence for illegal gas installation

A CARE HOME owner has been sent to prison for six months after fitting a gas cooker in his care home kitchen without holding Gas Safe registration.

Mr Amarjit Sehmi, 66, pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to two offences under sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and two offences under regulation 3 (1 and 3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Employees warned Sehmi, from Boston Gardens, Brentford, that he should not install the gas cooker at Crowhurst Care Home in March 2022 as he was not qualified. Sehmi ignored the warnings and told staff to cook that evenings’ meal for residents on the replacement cooker.

The worker who prepared the meal attended A&E later that evening with a heavy headache and disorientation. Other workers reported a pungent smell in the kitchen.

Emergency gas engineers were called to the property and the gas cooker was found to be in a dangerous state and was disconnected.

The care home workers reported the matter to Environmental Health at Rother District Council, who started the investigation which led to the conviction of Sehmi.

The Health and Safety at Work Act is enforced by local environmental health officers in residential care homes, retail and office premises.

At the sentencing hearing at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday, September 5, Sehmi apologised for his behaviour, saying he would never touch a gas appliance again.

In sentencing Sehmi to immediate custody, His Honour Judge van der Zwart remarked that “you do not need to be a gas engineer to understand the risk of gas.”

The judge continued: “You ultimately decided to install a cooker. You positively created a risk of serious injury or death when you had increased responsibility for vulnerable persons and members of the public nearby.”

Councillor Kathryn Field, Portfolio Holder at Rother District Council, said: “This case is a sharp reminder to all landlords and employers. Only qualified professional engineers who hold Gas Safe registration can work on gas appliances and systems.

“If there are concerns about health and safety in the workplace, we listen and take action.”

The residents of Crowhurst Care Home were moved to new accommodation and the home closed in August 2022. The affected worker made a full recovery.

Published: 8th September 2023

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