Are you aware of the damage illegal gas fitters can cause?
According to the Gas Safe Register’s investigations, around 90% of all illegal gas work does not meet the required standards. Furthermore, some of this work is immediately dangerous to people’s lives and property – one-fifth of this illegal gas work is found to be so dangerous that the Gas Safe Register has had to quickly switch the appliance off to prevent fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and gas explosions.
Every year, around 250,000 illegal gas work is performed, and the last three years have seen 20 deaths and almost 1,000 injuries caused by gas-related issues. Despite these significant dangers, a surprisingly high proportion of people would still use illegal gas fitters. A poll by the Gas Safe Register found:
- 28% of people who had gas work last year did not even consider checking whether the engineer was legally permitted to perform the work and was Gas Safe;
- 46% trusted that a gas fitter was qualified on face value alone;
- 41% incorrectly assumed that illegal gas fitters are typically cheaper than qualified engineers; and
- One-sixth of respondents admitted that they would use an illegal gas engineer if the worker had been recommended.
Manchester mother-of-two Jan Collins is just one of the countless people that have suffered damages due to illegal gas work. She employed someone to work on her gas fire, but did not consider checking to see if they were registered, and as a result, the fire was not installed correctly and was producing deadly carbon monoxide.
Mrs Collins and her husband began to develop symptoms such as severe headaches and heavy nosebleeds, and noticed a number of black marks around the fireplace – both warning signs that carbon monoxide is present.
She said she was “lucky” to have figured out that something was wrong and to have got the appliance checked out before her symptoms got any worse or before her children began to suffer.
Every week, around three illegal gas fitters that have put people’s lives in danger and left people out-of-pocket are prosecuted by the Gas Safe Register and the Health and Safety Executive. Gas Safe Register Chief Executive Russell Krämer said that people can be “far too trusting” in tradespeople, and this means they can unknowingly put themselves at risk.
He said it is important for people to check the registration details of their engineer to ensure that the engineer is working legally and is qualified to perform the task at hand. Qualified engineers will always be happy to show ID cards and to explain what kinds of work they are qualified to do, Mr Krämer added.
- Gas Safe Registered engineers carry an ID card. People should ask to look at this card and should check the license number printed on the card with the Gas Safe Register. The card will also state what gas appliances the professional can work on.
- People should only ever employ legal and Gas Safe engineers when arranging gas work on their home. To find an engineer, visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500. 247 Home Rescue takes care to ensure that every gas engineer in its network is qualified and competent – to find out more, or to discuss your engineer, call 0345 3192 247.
- If you smell gas, call 0800 999 111. This is the National Gas Emergency Number, and is monitored 24/7.