The vast majority of gas installations in Britain are perfectly safe and legal. However, the Gas Safe Register, which is a safety body that took over from Corgi in April this year, has called for the public to raise its awareness of illegal gas fitters. In plain terms, Gas Safe certification is the basic legal standard for any gas engineer in the country – anybody not on the Gas Safe Register who undertakes work on gas installations and appliances is breaking the law. Moreover, unqualified gas engineers risk causing harm, injury and even death to their customers.
Indeed, the statistics on carbon monoxide poisoning, which is commonly associated with unsafe gas installations, makes for grim reading: during the last year, 234 people have been hospitalised and 14 people have died. Furthermore, according to the Gas Safe Register, there are some 7,500 illegal gas fitters in active service throughout Great Britain. Obviously, having so many engineers in circulation who do not possess the skills and qualifications of Gas Safe engineers is of great concern to many domestic energy consumers. In particular, students and the elderly are at greatest risk because they are not always in control of who works on their gas fittings and appliances.
The Gas Safety Register’s campaign to raise public awareness on the issue of illegal gas fitters follows new research that suggests cowboy fitters are responsible for around 250,000 gas jobs each year. This staggering and disturbing figure is punctuated by incidents involving engineers who were previously Corgi registered but whose accreditation had expired or did not cover particular appliances. In short, the best advice is to always ensure that gas appliance and boiler installations are carried out by Gas Safe engineers. If in doubt, the Gas Safety Register provides a free gas safety inspection of the home – do not leave it too late. Our guide to avoiding cowboy plumbers also has some handy tips.