All Party Parliamentary Biodiesel Group

Gas Safety

Every year about 14 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed or maintained. Many others also suffer ill health. When gas does not burn properly, as with other fuels such as coal, wood or oil, excess carbon monoxide is produced, which is poisonous.
You can't see it. You can't taste it. You can't even smell it. But carbon monoxide can kill without warning in just a matter of hours.
You are particularly at risk when you are asleep because you cannot recognise the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. These include tiredness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, pains in the chest and stomach pains. These symptoms can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused with flu or simple tiredness.
If you or your family experience the above symptoms, and you believe carbon monoxide may be involved, you must seek urgent medical advice. Your doctor will need to test a blood or breath sample. Carbon monoxide quickly leaves the blood and tests may be inaccurate if taken more than four hours after exposure has ended.

ALL gas consumers are advised to have appliances checked for safety at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
You could be entitled to a free safety check. If you are over 60, chronically sick, disabled, deaf or hearing-impaired, blind or visually impaired, you are entitled to join your supplier's Priority Service Register. It is free to join and once a member you are entitled, among other things, to a free annual gas safety check (unless you live in rented accommodation where it is your landlord's duty to ensure the check is done). For more information look at the back of your gas bill.
CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS are a useful back-up precaution but must NOT be regarded as a substitute for proper installation and maintenance of gas equipment by a Gas Safe registered engineer. If you decide to buy a carbon monoxide alarm, ensure it meets current safety standards (BS EN 50291) and carries the Kitemark. If in doubt ask a member of staff for advice. Always follow the manufacturer's siting instructions.
If you smell gas, or suspect there is a gas escape or a carbon monoxide leak, you should immediately do the following:
■Open all doors and windows.
■ Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if you know where it is). If gas continues to escape call National Grid on the Gas Emergency Freephone Number 0800 111 999.
■ Make sure that any investigations or repairs are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The law
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 place duties on gas consumers, installers, suppliers and landlords. These regulations link with other safety controls on combustion equipment, eg the Building Regulations, which are standards for ventilation and flues. For your own protection remember:
■ by law anyone carrying out work on gas appliances or fittings as part of their business must be competent and registered with the Gas Safe Register. Always check your engineer is registered by asking to see their ID card which has a photo of the engineer, their business registration number and personal licence number, company name, the start and expiry date of the card
the website;
■ is likely to be illegal;
■ by law you must not use any gas appliance or fittings you know or suspect to be unsafe. Through Gas Safe Register, HSE has asked all
and a security hologram. The reverse of the card details what kind of gas work the engineer is able to do. You can also call Gas Safe Register during normal office hours on 0800 408 5500 or go to by law only a competent person can carry out work on gas appliances or fittings. Do-it-yourself work on gas appliances or fittings could be dangerous and registered engineers to disconnect any gas appliance or fittings which are so dangerous as to be a threat to life if they are used. If your engineer asks your permission to disconnect such an appliance or fitting it will be in the interests of your own safety, and that of others, to agree. Before you use this appliance or fitting again, have it repaired by a Gas Safe registered engineer;

by law, landlords are generally responsible for making sure that gas fittings and flues are maintained in good order, and gas appliances and flues are checked for safety once in a period of 12 months. They must also keep a record of the safety checks for at least two years and issue the latest certificate to existing tenants and any new tenants before they move in. If you own the appliance, you are responsible for its maintenance and safety checks;

by law, with the exception of the room-sealed type, there are restrictions on the installation of gas appliances such as fires, boilers and heaters in sleeping accommodation. These restrictions apply only to appliances fitted after 1 January 1996 and to those already installed in rooms in rented accommodation which have been converted to bedrooms after 31 October 1998. Appliances which are not room-sealed, eg conventional gas fires of 14 kilowatts or less, may only be fitted if they have a device which automatically turns the gas supply off before a dangerous level of fumes can build up. However, for appliances above 14 kilowatts only those of a room-sealed type are allowed in such accommodation;

by law, since 31 October 1998, it has been illegal to install in any room instantaneous water heaters which are not room-sealed or fitted with a safety device which automatically turns the gas supply off before a dangerous level of poisonous fumes builds up;

by law, mains gas transporters/emergency service providers (ESPs) must, in the event of an emergency, make the situation safe. They should establish the cause of a gas escape and take action to prevent the gas from escaping within 12 hours. In the case of actual or suspected escapes of carbon monoxide they should respond to reports from consumers and make the situation safe.


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Key Facts

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The Group provided a forum for Parliamentarians, gas industry representatives and other key stakeholders to discuss issues affecting the gas industry and consumers.

Example Recommmendations

The All Party Parliamentary Biodiesel Group or APPGSG recommends that all boilers are serviced at least annually, by registered biodiesel Safety engineer, with audible carbon monoxide alarms installed where appropriate


More information about biodiesel Safety?

GLSG Gas Industry Safety Group - Gas Safety Awards


Basic Gas Safety | Enviko | Biodiesel Processors | Green Fuels