It's shocking to think that almost five million people in the UK are putting themselves and their families at risk by employing illegal gas engineers who aren't properly qualified to do the job.
Recent figures based on research by the Gas Safety Register, following four years of investigations into unqualified and unregistered gas fitters, showed that 65% of jobs carried out by illegal fitters were unsafe and that one in five of the appliances they fitted were so dangerous that immediate disconnection was required.
The Register inspected 2,300 illegal gas jobs over the course of the study and found that there was significant disparity region by region. For instance, 77% of jobs investigated in Yorkshire and Humber were found to be unsafe, whereas the figure was 51% in the South West. The research also showed that people were five times more likely to employ someone on the basis of personal recommendation than on their qualifications. Nearly 20% of those asked did not check an engineer's ID card or their qualifications before they commenced work.
With a real risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions resulting from the employment of unregistered fitters, Jonathan Samuel, the chief executive of Gas Safety Register said that based on the findings of the research, they were "calling on people to 'trust the triangle' by checking for the Gas Safe Register logo on gas fitters' ID cards", insisting that real care should be taken in the choice fitters qualified to work on appliances in the home.
Householders can look for Gas Safe registered engineers in their area by visiting www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or calling 0800 408 5500
If you're a gas installer:
To help raise awareness of the Gas Safe Register and demonstrate your credentials as a competent installer, always show your Gas Safe ID card; including the back of the card, which lists the appliances you're qualified to work on.
If an end user suspects an engineer is an illegal fitter, or has concerns about the work they've had done, such worries should be reported to the Gas Safe Register via the website or phone number above.
The Gas Safe Register has come up with a list of helpful tips for installers and their clients, to keep everyone safe:
1. All gas appliances should be safety checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Make sure your customers are aware of the warning signs that an appliance isn't working properly. Lazy yellow flames, excessive condensation and black stains are all signs that things aren't as they should be.
2. Educate customers about the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. These include headaches, nausea, breathlessness, dizziness and loss of consciousness.
3. Provide enough ventilation for the gas appliance to burn correctly and make sure that air vents or chimneys aren't blocked.
4. An audible carbon monoxide alarm should be installed near to the gas appliance.
5. If a customer smells gas or thinks there may be a gas leak, they should immediately call the free 24-hour national gas emergency line on 0800 111 999.
Keep your training up to date!
In order to maintain Gas Safe Registration, gas installers must renew their in core safety (CCN1) and relevant appliances every five years.
We deliver gas ACS qualifications for the domestic and commercial sector from our centres throughout the UK. Find a centre near you.