Date Published 19 September 2017
This week is Gas Safety Week, so I thought that I would cover the importance of having an up to date gas safety certificate and the penalties should this be lacking. This is now in its 7th year and is designed to make more people aware of poorly maintained gas appliances which can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. This includes not only Landlords but also home owners as there is no legislation or responsibility for gas appliance owned who do not let to have any checks undertaken. Though freeholders do put their family members at risk by not having appliances checked.
Landlords are required to provide their tenants with an annual gas safety certificate to cover all gas appliances and that any gas work at their rented properties is only undertaken by a member of Gas Safe Register. You can find your local engineer on the following web site www.gassaferegister.co.uk/find-an-engineer/
An engineer also has a photo id card and this lists on the reserve the items which they are trained and authorised to undertake. For example not all gas engineers can fix your gas cooker, though they may be able to install a gas boiler.
There have been 31 death and over 1000 injuries from gas related leaks or fumes over the last 3 years. This includes about 7 deaths from exposure to CO which is an odourless, colourless toxic gas that causes unconsciousness, due to poorly maintained gas appliances. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have powers to investigate Landlords to make sure that their certification is up to date.
AS mentioned above, only a member of Gas Safe Register should work on gas appliances. Should others undertake gas work they are in breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Likewise, if there be no gas safety certificate in place, the HSE may request an Improvement Notice (IN). Failure to comply will typically result in prosecution by breaching section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (36 (3)). Both of which can carry a custodial sentence.
During my two decades within the profession, I have personally identified several gas leaks which involves calling the Gas Services Emergency Line on 0800111999. They are available 24 hours, 7 days a week and will send an engineer out for free within 1 to 2 hours. So to conclude, make sure that your documentation is all up to date and if you're not a Landlord consider also having your appliances tested as always better to be safe than sorry.