Summer’s a time for relaxing and enjoying the fine weather (while it lasts), but that doesn’t mean you can forget about gas safety. If you’re using a BBQ, whether in the back garden or when you’re on holiday, there are things you need to know to keep yourself and others safe. Barbecue safety is really important because both gas and solid fuel BBQs come with the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if not maintained or used correctly.
Gas, charcoal and disposable BBQs are safe when used responsibly and our BBQ safety tips are designed to ensure you stay safe. Follow our BBQ safety tips and enjoy your al fresco cooking without any risks (except for a bit of overindulging!).
BBQ safety checklist
The following BBQ safety advice contains all the essential points to keep in mind when cooking with a BBQ:
- Never use a BBQ indoors.
- This includes any temporary outdoor shelter such as tents, marquees, yurts, gazebos, playhouses, shepherd huts or igloos!
- Don’t take a lit or smouldering BBQ into a tent, caravan, or cabin. Even when you have finished cooking with it, a BBQ can still give off fumes that can give you carbon monoxide poisoning. You should always leave it outside.
- The cooking area should be well away from buildings and be well ventilated with fresh air.
- Be aware of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Loss of consciousness
- Always use your BBQ in accordance with the operating instructions.
- Check the BBQ for damage before use.
- When using your BBQ ensure that it is on a level ground. In the case of disposable BBQs, use on a non-combustible surface
- Ensure disposable BBQs are cold before disposing responsibly into refuse containers. Even a slightly warm BBQ could cause a fire.
Gas BBQ maintenance tips
- If you’re using a gas BBQ here are some additional safety tips to keep you safe while cooking. These tips can also be applied to other gas devices like a camping stove, light, or heater:
- Before use, check that the BBQ is in good working order and any hoses are not showing signs of wear, stiffness or cracking. If you have any doubts about the safety of a gas BBQ do not use it and contact a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- When changing your gas cylinder turn off the gas taps, and always change the cylinder in the open air.
- Don’t over-tighten joints.
- Always turn off the gas cylinder before turning off the BBQ controls to ensure that any gas left in the pipeline is used up.
- The instructions that come with your BBQ should detail how to check for gas leaks. This often involves coating joints with a leak detection solution and then watching for bubbles. Be sure to follow these instructions before using the BBQ to check for any problems. If you find a leak do not use the BBQ and consult the instructions for further advice.
- Leave gas powered stoves, lights, or heaters outside in the fresh air at all times to prevent carbon monoxide build up.
- ALWAYS follow and consult the manufacturer’s instructions for appliance specific advice on use, ventilation, maintenance and care.
- Gas components, on any appliance, should only be repaired or replaced by a competent person and this includes your BBQ
- Storage – At the end of the season thoroughly clean your BBQ, do not leave the cylinder connected when not in use, and store it in a dry environment.
Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) powered products are a feature of many summers, taken along on camping trips, to festivals, or keeping you warm on the patio in the evening. You can find out more safety advice on LPG equipment here.
Does my landlord need to safety test a Gas BBQ like they do a boiler?
If your landlord provides a gas BBQ at your rental property, it will need to be checked as part of the Landlord Gas Safety Check Certificate. If it is not provided by your landlord then you, as the owner, are responsible for ensuring the safety of the BBQ.
Don’t ignore BBQ safety, your life could be at risk!
The risks of ignoring BBQ safety are real and can have devastating consequences. Roland Wessling and his partner Hazel Williams were on a camping trip, and after cooking on a charcoal BBQ they allowed it to cool before bringing it into their tent for the night. Hazel died from carbon monoxide poisoning and Roland suffered severe health complications that nearly killed him. You can read more about Roland’s story here.
Learn more about Carbon Monoxide Awareness at the Gas Safe Charity CO Project – Think CO video on YouTube