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HSE issues gas safety check warning

27 July 2022

GETTING A gas safety check is the best way to protect your property, is a message being put out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The warning come following a gas explosion that destroyed a house in the Birmingham last month. A woman died and a man was seriously injured in the incident.  

Gas incidents such as the Kingstanding explosion are devastating but extremely rare. HSE’s statistics show there were 25 gas related fire and explosion incidents in 2020/2021. This is despite there being over 22 million households using gas across the country. 

The authorities recommend some simple steps people can take to keep their homes safe. HSE also put out a reminder that gas appliances should be regularly checked to prevent gas leaks and stop carbon monoxide being released. It also says homeowners should get an annual gas safety check carried out by a qualified engineer listed on the Gas Safe Register. 

Anyone living in rented accommodation should check their landlord has had an annual gas safety record check carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer. The Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas businesses which are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires, and all other gas appliances. By law, anyone working with gas in domestic or commercial premises must be listed on the register. Gas Safe registered businesses can be found on their website.    

Meanwhile, everyone should find where in their property the gas emergency control valve (also called gas emergency shut off valve) is. This will be found at their gas meter. Householders should check they have access to it. If they ever smell gas, call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999.   

In some circumstances, suppliers can offer free gas safety checks through the Priority Services Register. For further advice and information homeowners can contact their gas supplier (the company they pay their bills to). 

SE policy lead for gas safety John Rowe said: “Our thoughts are with those affected by the terrible Kingstanding incident. When something so devastating happens, people understandably worry.   

“The truth is gas is an incredibly safe way of fuelling our homes. Serious incidents are extremely rare. We should all be careful and not unduly concerned about using gas in our home. We’re encouraging householders to get a gas safety check, carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer. Everyone should know where their emergency gas safety value is and that it is accessible. These steps will help keep people safe.”   

Gas Safe Register gas services director Bob Kerr, said: “Regular safety checking and servicing of gas appliances can ensure that they are operating safely and as intended. Having an audible carbon monoxide alarm is also a good second line of defence.” 

West Midlands Fire Service area commander Alex Shapland said: “Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the devastating incident in Kingstanding; in particular those who grieve and the man who was injured.    

“The events of 26 June are a stark reminder of how important it is to get gas appliances regularly tested by a Gas Safe professional.    

“We would also urge anyone who’s concerned about fire safety at home to contact their local fire and rescue service. Our own ‘Safe and Well’ visits can be requested via our website, wmfs.net, and by calling 0800 389 5525.”