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Risk news

Experts warn of the dangers of cutting corners with gas safety

The dangers posed by gas cannot be understated; not only can a leak or even an explosion damage property, it can also cause severe disruption to a business and, at worse, injure or even kill.

But still, gas safety is not being taken seriously enough across the UK, experts warn, with many people more concerned about their financial outgoings than their wellbeing.

Indeed, according to the Gas Safe Register, despite a spate of recent initiatives geared towards educating both individuals and businesses about the importance of stringent gas safety measures, far too many people are still keen to cut corners, whatever the risk.

In fact, the industry body's own research has found that one in three Britons, including employers who are responsible for the health and safety of their staff, would be happy to fit a gas appliance themselves in order to save a bit of money.

At the same time, while they would be willing to bring in outside help, many others would prefer to pay less for an uncertified gas technician.

Highlighting the dangers of opting to get work done on the cheap, the Gas Safe Register's research also found that 100,000 people who employed a tradesman to carry out gas-related work over the past 12 months "fell victim to illegal and dangerous work", the Plymouth Herald reports.

So, if you're a conscientious employer or homeowners keen to keep warm over the cold winter months yet also determined to ensure the safety of your employees or family, what steps should you take to make sure any gas appliances you get fitted are as safe as possible?

Firstly, experts strongly advise against trying to cut corners when it comes to getting appliances fitted, with only engineers registered with the Gas Safe Register legally allowed to carry out work in the UK.

Note that all gas engineers are required to renew their membership at regular intervals, as well as keep up with all the latest developments and rules and regulations in their field, so ensure that you see up-to-date, genuine credentials before you hire someone to carry out some work.

However, getting a boiler or other gas appliance is not enough given that carbon monoxide poisoning accounts for a worryingly high number of deaths each year, the threat of noxious fumes coming out of even the best-fitted boilers cannot be neglected.

Rather, it pays to fit a carbon monoxide alarm capable of alerting you, your family or your workmates or employees to the presence of potentially-fatal fumes, while regular checks – again from Gas Safe Register-accredited engineers rather than unregulated tradesmen or friends of friends – are also highly recommended.

Furthermore, experts also advise everyone to acquaint themselves with the telltale signs of carbon monoxide, particularly now, when symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and nausea could be fatally mistaken for signs of the flu.

"A good way to differentiate between flu and CO poisoning is to see if symptoms improve when you’re outdoors in the fresh air," says Paul Johnston, chief executive of the Gas Safe Register.

"Even low levels of CO, when breathed in over a long period of time, can cause serious harm to a person’s health and may lead to paralysis and brain damage."ADNFCR-2134-ID-801530188-ADNFCR

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