Around 1.1 million gas jobs are carried out every year by illegal fitters who aren’t properly qualified, putting householders at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions, a government body has warned.
A study by Gas Safe Register, the nation’s only official gas registration scheme, found that illegal gas fitters installed over 186,000 gas cookers, 147,000 boilers, 75,000 gas fires, 32,000 gas meters and 645,000 gas pipework over one year.
Gas Safe Register has a team searching out rogue fitters and has investigated almost 5,000 illegal gas jobs in recent years, finding that 3 in 5 were in an unsafe condition. A worrying 1 in 5 were deemed to be so dangerous that the appliance had to be disconnected immediately.
Gas Safe Register research further found that 16% of people would trust an engineer if they said they were registered, rather than checking their ID card. The majority of people admit they are generally trusting of people and that when it comes to determining who to trust, the most common thing they look for include politeness, good eye contact and a nice smile.
The consequences of relying on an unregistered engineer can be deadly. Unsafe gas appliances can produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO). Gas Safe Register research has found that around 1 in 5 people are unaware that carbon monoxide cannot be seen in a room, and 2 in 5 have no idea that the gas is odourless. According to the Health and Safety Executive in the past three years, 22 people have died and there have been nearly 1,000 injuries related to gas incidents.
Gas Safe Register latest research reveals:
3 in 5 illegal installations were found to be unsafe
1 in 5 were deemed so dangerous they had to be disconnected immediately
3 in 4 victims had employed the tradesman based on a recommendation from others
Just under 1 in 4 had found their fitter through an advert, wrongly assuming they were registered
22 people have died and nearly 1,000 injured due to gas related incidents in the last 3 years.