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Two thirds of illegal gas work carried out in homes found to be unsafe

Central London tops unsafe cities list

Data from Gas Safe Register’s Investigations Team has revealed that cutting corners and using illegal fitters is putting many people at risk from the dangers of unsafe gas work. The latest research highlights the top 10 cities in the UK at risk of living with dangerous gas appliances from illegal gas work. Central London tops the list with three quarters (75%) of illegal gas work found to be unsafe. Supporting this, The London Fire Brigade’s latest figures highlighted that in 2017 firefighters were called out 569 times for carbon monoxide related incidents. 

With this in mind Gas Safe Register, with support from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and charity Project SHOUT, is highlighting the dangers of using illegal gas fitters, as having unsafe gas appliances can result in carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions. 

Gas Safe Register’s research found that within the last five years, two thirds (66%) of gas work carried out by illegal gas fitters across the UK was found to be unsafe. However, in the last year, this figure has increased to almost seven in every 10 appliances investigated (69% since April 2017).

Top 10 unsafe cities in the UK Percentage of illegal gas jobs found to be unsafe
London (Central) 75%
Nottingham 72%
Sheffield 71%
London (Outer) 70%
Manchester 69%
Ipswich  67%
Cardiff 66%
Norwich 66%
Edinburgh 62%
Birmingham 62%

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said:

“The findings from our investigations shows how dangerous illegal gas work can be. Don’t cut corners and always check you are using a Gas Safe registered engineer so you’re safe in the knowledge that they are legally qualified to work in your home. To check your engineer is on the Gas Safe Register, visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk, and always ask to see their Gas Safe ID card when they arrive on your doorstep.”

During 2017, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the national independent watchdog responsible for the prosecutions of unregistered gas engineers, has issued more than £800,000 in fines and prosecutions have resulted in a combined 5 years of jail time.

Zoe Hadley, campaign director of Project SHOUT, a national campaign raising awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, said:

Research shows that over 16 million households in the UK could be at risk from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. We are reminding everyone of the importance of making sure your gas appliances are checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer so they have peace of mind that their appliances are working safely. It is important to be aware of the dangers of using an illegal gas fitter and the dangers it can pose on your family”.

How do you know if your gas appliances are worked on illegally?

  1. Only employ a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. Gas Safe Register is the official register for legally qualified engineers. You can find a registered engineer in your area by visiting the Gas Safe Register website or by calling on 0800 408 5500.
  2. ‘Don’t cut corners’ and always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on.
  3. If you suspect that someone is an illegal fitter or are worried about gas work carried out in your home, you can report this online or contact Gas Safe on 0800 408 5500.

To keep you and your family safe, follow Gas Safe Register’s top tips: 

  • Know the symptoms of CO poisoning; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness.
  • If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
  • Never attempt to work on a gas appliance yourself, always seek the help of a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer who can work on your gas cooker, boiler or fire in a safe way.

To find out more about the dangers posed by unsafe gas appliances in your area visit www.StayGasSafe.co.uk, and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer call 0800 408 5500 or find an engineer online. On social media, you can search @GasSafeRegister (Twitter), Gas Safe Register (Facebook) and #DontCutCorners for the latest updates.