2014-02-05 17:07:20 - Reported in the news today is the unfortunate gas explosion in a residential street in Clacton, Essex where 10 people have been injured and nearby residents evacuated
It is thought the explosion may have been caused by a gas leak and gas safely officials are conducting an investigation at the scene. However the exact cause of the explosion is still to be determined.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but incidents relating to gas leaks in the news over the past year or so have definitely increased. Whether its gas explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning both are concerning for us as gas trainers as it would indicate there is a lack of education concerning gas safety and even worse illegal or under trained domestic gas fitters working amongst us.
At Brookhouse Training our aim is clear. We take gas safety and competency very seriously and our trainees leave
with the skills and knowledge you would expect from a professional working in a dangerous environment.
Research from Gas Safe Register reveals that unqualified gas fitters do a quarter of a million illegal gas jobs each year. These illegal rogue traders are carrying out this work without the skills or the qualifications to work safely on gas.
The Gas Safe Register reports the British public is wasting £100million a year to rectify illegal gas jobs that put their homes and families in immediate danger.
Illegal gas jobs cost an extra 25% on average to rectify and they are often carried out by tradesmen who are recommended by friends or family, but are not qualified to work safely with gas.
One in five of the homes investigated by Gas Safe Register were found to be ‘Immediately Dangerous’ and the appliances had to be disconnected straight away to make them safe. In all cases the work had been done by an illegal gas fitter.
Further research from Gas Safe Register found that one in three people would trust a tradesman to do their gas work purely on recommendation from a friend or family member. Five times as many people would take a recommendation on trust, rather than actively check whether they were registered to work safely and legally on gas. Most people chose a fitter that they liked, who had been recommended and who offered a good price.
Paul Johnston, chief executive of Gas Safe Register explains the dangers: “All too often our investigations team find illegal gas fitters preying on the public, using charm tactics. Many use the Gas Safe logo on their van, adverts or paperwork when they are not registered. If you have a boiler, cooker or fire fitted by a gas engineer who isn’t registered to do the work, then you may end up paying to have it ripped out and start again which may cost you thousands of pounds, or worse, cost you your life. With a quarter of a million gas jobs carried out every year by illegal gas fitters who don’t have the skills or the qualifications to work safely on gas, it is vital that people always check that the engineer they use is on the Gas Safe Register or they could be putting their lives and pocket at risk.”
“Gas training at Brookhouse Training focuses on competency; from fault finding to carbon monoxide detection we go above and beyond to ensure qualified and professional gas fitters are going into the into the market in the hope this eradicates cowboy gas fitters.” Says James McConnell, Director at Brookhouse Training.
It can be difficult to spot a cowboy gas fitter, but with the following tips you’ll be much more equipped:
1. Always use a gas engineer who is on the Gas Safe Register to fit, fix and service your gas boiler, gas fire and gas cooker.
2. Never trust a gas fitter on first impressions or recommendations alone, no matter how helpful and polite they seem – always ask for the Gas Safe Register ID card. It’s the only way you can guarantee that your engineer is legally allowed to work on your gas boiler, gas fire and gas cooker.
3. Check on the back of the Gas Safe Register ID that the engineer is registered to carry out the work he intends to do in your home. If they’re registered to fit gas boilers, it doesn’t mean they are automatically qualified to put in a gas fire.
4. Check a gas engineer is registered by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or call the free helpline 0800 408 5500
After the gas work is done, nominate your home for a free gas safety check. www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help/nominate_work_for_inspection.aspx
If you suspect an illegal gas fitter report them to Gas Safe Register anonymously. www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help/report_an_illegal_gas_worker.aspx