Help & Advice


Domestic gas installation and health and safety

A poorly maintained gas appliance can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Learn more about the symptoms of this and how to prevent it. Find out what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant, landlord or homeowner.

Gas Safe Register

All Gas Safe Register engineers carry an ID card showing the type of work they are qualified to do, so make sure you ask to see this before any gas work is carried out.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Every year about 30 people in the UK die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by gas systems which have not been properly installed or maintained. Many others also suffer ill health.

When gas does not burn properly, as with other fuels such as coal, wood or oil, excess CO is produced which is poisonous. You can't see it, taste it or smell it, but CO can kill without warning in just a few hours. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, feeling tired and sick, and difficulty in thinking clearly.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

If you suffer from these symptoms and you think they could be caused by carbon monoxide exposure then you should:

stop using all your cooking and heating appliances
open the windows in your home
see your doctor at once
call a qualified engineer to check all your cooking and heating appliances

The best way to protect yourself is to have all gas and fossil fuel cooking and heating appliances, and flues and chimneys, serviced regularly. The servicing (and any installation) should be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has information for gas users on how to manage gas appliances/equipment safely. It also tells you what to do in an emergency and provides advice for landlords, and letting agents on how to comply with the law.

Landlords

As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. There is legislation to specifically deal with the duties of landlords to ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants' use are safe.

Landlords should:

ensure installation pipework, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition

ensure an annual safety check is carried out on each appliance and/or flue that you provide for tenants' use

ensure maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a Gas Safe registered installer

keep a record of each safety check for two years

issue a copy of the safety check to each existing tenant within 28 days of a check being completed and to any new tenant before they move in

ensure all gas equipment, including any appliance left by a previous tenant, is safe or otherwise removed before re-letting

if a managing agent is used to help the landlord in meeting their duties, make sure that the management contract clearly specifies who is to make arrangements for maintenance and safety checks to be carried out and for keeping records. However, the landlord maintains overall responsibility for ensuring duties are met, irrespective of whether a managing agent is employed

ensure that anyone carrying out work on gas appliances/fittings and/or flues provided for tenants' use has the required competence and that only Gas Safe registered installers are used

Tenants

Tenants should:

allow your landlord access to the property to carry out maintenance or safety checks on appliances and/or flues that they provide for your use

make sure that gas appliances and/or flues you own are regularly maintained, with a safety check carried out at least once every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered installer

ensure that if there is any doubt about the safety of gas equipment it is turned off and not touched until checked by a Gas Safe registered installer, and remedial action taken as necessary

Homeowners

As a house-owner you have a responsibility to yourself and the residents in your home to ensure that:

your gas fittings and appliances are safe

that all gas appliances and/or flues are regularly maintained and a safety check carried out annually or at any other time if there is a safety doubt by a Gas Safe registered installers.

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