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Health and Safety and the Duties of Directors
Company Fines and Director Sentenced After Carrying Out Unregistered Gas Work
The Duties of Directors are many and varied, and none are more important than those which relate to complying with Health and Safety Regulations. This article looks at a case where the company involved was fined £6,000, whilst the director (and his son) received community service sentences, with curfews, for carrying out unregistered gas work, and, therefore not complying with his duties as a director.
The Background to This Case
Mr Nigel Murray (‘the Director’) of N Murray and Sons Ltd (‘the Company’) has been fined and sentenced after conducting gas work at a domestic property in Mount Pleasant, Maldon without being gas safe registered.
The Company had been contracted in May 2014 to install two boilers at two domestic properties in Essex. Following the boilers being fitted, complaints had been made to the Gas Safe Register.
Gas Safe Register inspectors subsequently confirmed that the gas appliances installed by an employee of the Company were considered to be “at risk” and required immediate work to ensure the safety of the occupiers of the properties.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Director of the Company had sub contracted gas installation work to his son who he knew was not Gas Safe Registered. It was also found that he was aware that Grant Murray (son of the Director) was not competent or gas safe registered but allowed the work to be completed.
The Consequences of Failing to Adhere to the Duties of Directors
The Company pleaded guilty to breaching two charges of Regulation 3 (2) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
The company has been fined £6000.
- Nigel Murray, the Director, pleaded guilty to breaching two charges of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been sentenced to a six-month community order and a 7pm – 5am curfew for four months.
- Grant Murray pleaded guilty to breaching two charges of Regulation 3 (1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and he has been sentenced to a 12-month community order and a 7pm – 5am curfew for six months.
Comment From the Health and Safety Executive
Speaking after the hearing ,HSE inspector Edward Crick said:
“Gas Safe Registered engineers are regulated and have to ensure they can prove they are competent. This safe guard is removed when people choose not to register which is highlighted in this case, where the individual placed people at risk of harm in their homes.
“It is important that anybody who has gas work carried out checks their engineer is carrying a valid gas safe registered identification card. They should also check online or call Gas Safe Register to confirm they are competent to carry out the work.”
Our Comment on this Duties of Directors Case
Had Mr Murray taken the time to consider the capabilities of his son, he could have avoided the sanctions imposed on him by the HSE.
The case is a reminder that compliance with Health and Safety Legislation is a statutory requirement for Directors and that a failure to observe such duties can result in fines and community orders – prison sentences are also possible for the most serious cases – for a defaulting Director. Every worker has the right to work in a safe environment, and this case shows just how seriously the authorities take non-compliance when it comes to Health and Safety and the Duties of Directors
It is also a salutary reminder of the criminal law enforcement action the HSE will take against Directors if there is a failure to comply and that Company Directors will be pursued personally in respect of Health and Safety breaches.
As solicitors specialising in the area of regulatory compliance, we are well used to dealing with the tactics and strategy of defending such cases, to the best advantage of the Company and its Directors. We are also experienced in working with the insurers for the Director and/or the Company in such cases.
Contact us for Help and Advice Regarding the Duties of Directors
If you have any questions regarding your duties as a Company Director under Health and Safety legislation or more generally, and the effect of non-compliance in any case, please contact us or call us today on 0121 200 7040 for a FREE, no obligation initial chat.