Over 14 people a year die from carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK, and many more suffer health problems from carbon monoxide exposure. You can’t see, taste or smell carbon monoxide fumes but they can cause brain damage and kill quickly.
As the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) continues its investigation into the deaths of two Newtownabbey teenagers, it has urged people who use gas to ensure any appliances are installed and serviced by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.
The Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI as the gas safety body in Northern Ireland from April 1. This followed the replacement of CORGI in the rest of the UK last year after an extensive review of gas safety by the Health and Safety Executive in Great Britain. The HSENI conducted its own review and decided to align itself with the rest of the UK.
Anyone carrying out work on gas must be on the Gas Safe Register. If not, they are breaking the law and could be putting you and your family at risk. Badly installed and poorly maintained gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Gas installer George Brown, who is being investigated by the HSENI, does not appear listed on the Gas Safe Register website.
Gas engineers have a range of qualifications that allow them to carry out specific types of gas work. It’s important to check what work they are qualified to do before you use them. You can find this information on the back of your gas engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card.
All registered engineers carry a Gas Safe Register ID card with their own licence number. Before you have any gas work carried out, always ask to see the card.
Check both sides of the card to make sure the engineer is qualified to do the work you want carried out and their qualifications are in date.
You can find or check a Gas Safe registered engineer in Northern Ireland at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or by phoning 0800 408 5500.
The Public Health Agency recommends the following actions to minimise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
Install an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm that meets British or European standards (BS Kitemark or EN 50291). These cost as little as £20 and can be purchased from large DIY stores and food retail stores. Alarms however, should not be used as a substitute for regular servicing of appliances
Sweep chimneys and flues every year if you use solid fuel
If you are in rented accommodation ask your landlord to provide you with an up-to-date gas safety record. This is a requirement by law and is particularly important for students renting houses and flats
Keep flues, air vents and grilles clear and ensure rooms are well ventilated.