New research has found that a third (33%) of UK adults do not check if their heating engineer is legally allowed to work on their gas appliances, i.e. they don’t check that they are on the Gas Safe Register. Engineers who are not registered with Gas Safe are not legally allowed to work with gas appliances.
A public research company, Opinium Matters, conducted a survey of 2,013 adults in the UK during April 2019, asking each participant several questions on everyday safety precautions. The results found that respondents believed they had verified that the engineer was Gas Safe registered because the engineer had the Gas Safe logo on their uniform or website (28%), or they accepted the word of the engineer (13%).
The survey exposed a lack of understanding about the importance of checking the Gas Safe Register, i.e. only engineers registered with Gas Safe are legally allowed to work on gas appliances. Of those who didn’t check the Gas Safe Register, 40% were believed all engineers are registered and 29% didn’t realise they needed to check.
In several cases people had realised that the engineer was not Gas Safe registered after they had completed the work. Several respondents also revealed that they had wasted money as the work then had to be checked by a registered engineer (8%) and/or re-done (12%). 15% said they were in too much of a rush to check, 18% forgot to ask and 14% were ‘too embarrassed to ask’.
In the last 3 years the Gas Safe Register has investigated nearly 2,000 cases of reported illegal gas work. Of these reports, 69% of properties were found to be unsafe as a result of the gas work completed.
Jonathan Samuel, Chief Executive at 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.”
Unsafe gas appliances can have disastrous consequences. A gas leak can lead to fires or explosions and a carbon monoxide (CO) leak can be fatal. Symptoms of CO poisoning include breathlessness, headaches, dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness and collapse.
If you suspect that someone is working with gas illegally or are worried about gas work which has been carried out in your home, please contact the Gas Safe Register at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or by calling on 0800 408 5500.
If you think there might be a gas leak, e.g. you can smell gas, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
The same survey by Opinium Matters also uncovered other everyday situations in which the same group would not take recommended safety precautions. For example, buying tickets from unlicensed websites or touts (9%), checking whether or not a taxi is licensed (11%), taking a drink from a stranger (14%) and not checking the ID of someone entering their home to check meter readings (18%).