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56 Feature


THE HERALD FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16 2016


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GAS safety is important all


year round, but it is not always a household’s top priority. Gas Safety Week - coordinated


by Gas Safe Register - provides a platform for the gas industry, consumer organisations and individuals to focus all our communications about gas safety in one week, generating interest in the media and having a greater impact amongst the public. Around 1.1 million gas jobs


are carried out every year by illegal fitters who aren’t properly qualified, putting householders at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions, a government body has warned. A study by Gas Safe Register, the


nation’s only official gas registration scheme, found that illegal gas fitters installed over 186,000 gas cookers, 147,000 boilers, 75,000 gas fires, 32,000 gas meters and 645,000 gas pipework over one year. Gas Safe Register has a team


searching out rogue fitters and has investigated almost 5,000 illegal gas jobs in recent years, finding that three in five were in an unsafe condition. A worrying one in five were deemed to be so dangerous that the appliance had to be disconnected immediately. The team has found that three-


quarters of victims had employed the tradesman based on the recommendation from a friend, family member or by other contractors. Just


under one in four had found their fitter through an advert, wrongly assuming they were legal and registered. In no cases did the householder check the fitter’s credentials, despite it being a legal requirement for an engineer to be on the Gas Safe Register. The consequences of relying on an


unregistered engineer can be deadly. Unsafe gas appliances can produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO). Gas Safe Register research has found that around one in five people are unaware that carbon monoxide cannot be seen in a room, and two in five have no idea that the gas is odourless. According to the Health and Safety Executive, in the past three years, 22 people have died and there have been nearly 1,000 injuries related to gas incidents. Jonathan Samuel, Chief Executive


at Gas Safe Register, said: “Far too many people are letting unregistered gas fitters into their home and putting their families at risk. We are urging people to trust the triangle. Look for the Gas Safe Register triangle on you gas engineer’s ID card - thousands of people already do - and make sure you’re getting your gas appliances checked every year.” Rachel Broad and Ian Fellows


employed an unregistered gas worker to remove a boiler from their downstairs toilet, install a new gas boiler in their children’s bedroom upstairs, and install a duel fuel cooker


in the kitchen as part of building work involving an extension of their property. Once installed, the boiler and the


cooker started leaking. With the boiler not running for long before shutting down, and being smelly and noisy, Rachel and Ian stopped using it and were made to install ventilation into the room due to the smell. A Gas Safe registered engineer


was then called in to make the property safe and provide a statement of the gas work that had been carried out. It was found that the flue to the gas


boiler was unsafely connected; the gas connection to the fuel cooker was also poor, with faulty connections all over the appliances. The registered engineer classified the gas work in accordance with the Gas Industry Unsafe Situations Procedure as ‘Immediately Dangerous’. The boiler and cooker were condemned, resulting in electrics being left undone, with very little electricity throughout the downstairs of the house. The estimated total cost of the


building work including the gas work was £50,000 to £60,000. The homeowners who were


looking to sell the house are no longer able to do so. The unregistered gas fitter given a six month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months,180 hours of community service, fined £2,385 and was ordered to pay £5,400 compensation.


SIX SIMPLE STEPS TO STAY SAFE


• Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your appliances. You can find and check an engineer at GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.


• Check both sides of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card. Make sure they are qualified for the work you need doing. You can find this information on the back of the card.


• Have all your gas appliances regularly serviced and safety checked every year. If you rent your home, ask your landlord for a copy of the landlord’s current Gas Safety Record.


• Know the six signs of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness. Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk of CO poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.


• Check gas appliances for warning signs that they are not working properly e.g. lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks or stains on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.


• Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.


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