WaterSafe and our partners pledge full support for Gas Safety Week, now in its fourth year. The week will run from September 15 to 21 and highlight the need for homeowners to get their gas systems checked yearly.
Gas Safety Week will see the whole industry coming together to bring gas safety to the forefront of people’s minds. Dangerous gas work can kill, so it is vital gas appliances are safety checked at least once a year. If left unchecked, poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. In the last year alone, 343 people were injured and 10 people died as a result of gas-related incidents.
John Thompson, WaterSafe board member and CEO of APHC, highlights potential measures which could improve safety and reduce cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.
He said: “APHC is proposing some solutions to reduce incidents of faulty gas appliances and fatalities. A primary measure would be a mandatory annual MOT style check-up to make sure appliances are properly maintained, with potential faults detected prior to them becoming a silent killer.
“Secondly, it should be a mandatory requirement to have a CO detector installed when replacing a boiler in England and Wales. This requirement is already in place for solid fuels, and we recommend for it to be extended to cover all fuel types. These measures should also apply to all types of combustion appliances to reduce dangers to consumers across the board.
“APHC, along with other leading industry colleagues and led by WaterSafe supporters, Plumb Center, are lobbying for CO detectors to become mandatory wherever a carbon-burning appliance is installed. You can join the petition at www.no-to-co.co.uk. Only around 15% of UK homes have CO alarms, yet every year over 4,000 people are admitted to hospital with CO poisoning."
Research shows a lack of understanding about not just the dangers of CO but the fundamental and legal requirement for all gas work to be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered installer. One-in-three consumers trust a tradesman to do gas work based purely on the recommendation of a friend or neighbour, without checking out their registration and qualifications first. Unfortunately, millions of pounds are spent every year rectifying illegal gas work that put families and homes in danger of explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Danny Davis, Operations Manager for the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said: “It is alarming to read that one in three consumers would use somebody who is not Gas Safe Registered - by doing so they could endanger the lives of themselves and others. At the same time, this puts professional installers at a disadvantage, because they invest a lot of time and money in qualifying and registering to provide professional services, unlike the 'cowboys'.
“This type of work should only be carried out by professionals and it is important that the public is aware of this and the dangers associated with incorrect choices.”
Installers can get involved with Gas Safety Week and help spread the message of gas safety; you can help by reminding customers that to stay gas safe they should:
People can also sign up to a free reminder service at www.StayGasSafe.co.uk where they can also see how many and what type of unsafe gas appliances have been found near to them on an interactive UK map.