A third (33%) of UK adults admit they’ve not checked if the engineer working on their home’s gas appliances is doing so legally by being on the Gas Safe Register, according to the latest research findings by the Government’s official gas registration body.
The findings come as the Gas Safe Register nears completing 2,000 illegal gas work investigations in three years1, more than two thirds of which (69%) were found to be unsafe meaning the people living in the properties investigated were in potential danger from faulty gas work.
Alarmingly, respondents thought they’d correctly verified that their gas engineer was on the Gas Safe Register by noticing a logo on the engineer’s website or uniform (28%), or by asking the engineer (13%), rather than checking with the official body - Gas Safe Register - directly (28%).
When asked why they hadn’t thought to check if their engineer was working on their home’s gas appliances legally, the research revealed that there’s a lack of understanding and an assumption that all engineers are registered (40%) so people didn’t realise they had to check (29%). Some of those who let in an engineer without checking their registration information blamed being in a rush (15%) or forgetting to ask (18%), putting their safety at risk. British politeness also stopped 14% of adults checking if their engineer was on the Gas Safe Register as they claimed they were ‘too embarrassed to ask’.
Jonathan Samuel, CEO of Gas Safe Register, said:
“Anyone working on gas appliances who is not on the Gas Safe Register is doing so illegally. Gas appliances can be dangerous if they’re not looked after, so it’s important to ensure they are serviced or fixed by someone who is legally registered and qualified to do so. You can look up your gas engineer’s registration number on the Gas Safe Register website, or call our helpline.”
Gas engineer checks aren’t the only safety precautions that UK adults are putting to one side, as they also admit the following judgement errors:
- Not checking meter readers’ ID (18%) before letting them into their home
- Having a drink given to them by a stranger (14%)
- Using an unlicensed mini cab without checking whether it was legitimate (11%)
- Buying tickets from touts or unlicensed websites (9%)
Of those who realised that their engineer wasn’t Gas Safe registered after they had worked on their gas appliances, they admitted they’d wasted money (8%) as the work had to be checked by a registered engineer and, in some cases, re-done (12%). Others (6%) contacted Gas Safe Register to inform them of the illegal work.
Gas Safe Register offers the following tips when it comes to stamping out illegal gas work:
- Don’t cut corners – only employ a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. Gas Safe Register is the only 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.
- If you suspect that someone is an illegal fitter or are worried about gas work carried out in your home, please contact Gas Safe Register.
- To help Gas Safe Register’s investigations team build their case: take clear pictures of the work that’s been done, keep paperwork including business cards and receipts given to you by the engineer and write a log of what work or conversations happened when.
- Unsafe gas appliances can leak carbon monoxide (CO). Know the symptoms of CO poisoning; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and collapse.
- 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.
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 visit our Find An Engineer page or call 0800 408 5500. On social media, search @GasSafeRegister and #DontCutCorners.
Research was conducted with Opinium Matters of 2,013 UK adults between 15 and 18 April 2019.
1Data from Gas Safe Register’s investigation team