Running a business means making health and safety a top priority, in all respects, but it seems that many small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are failing in their responsibilities in terms of gas safety.
New research from British Gas has found that 18 per cent of SMEs in the UK do not currently have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted on site, while 21 per cent were seemingly not aware that by not having an annual gas safety check undertaken their insurance could actually be invalidated.
In fact, employers have a legal requirement to make sure that their gas pipework, appliances and flues are maintained and kept in a safe condition, while landlords must also carry out annual gas safety checks.
Interestingly, the British Gas study found that while SMEs don’t appear to be doing all they can to ensure their premises are gas safe, 79 per cent of those asked said they were aware that by not carrying out annual gas safety checks they could be putting lives at risk, with just three per cent stating that no health risks would be involved.
“It’s important that all small businesses make gas safety a priority. Some customers don’t always realise the risks of carbon monoxide and gas leaks at work, compared to their home. I’d urge any business to get commercial gas appliances regularly serviced and maintained and to make sure they have an audible carbon monoxide alarm fitted in their workplace,” engineer for British Gas Business Wayne Martin commented.
Tips to help you stay gas safe at work include installing a carbon monoxide alarm on your site, looking out for signs of soot, staining or discolouration on or near your gas appliances and knowing what the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are. These include nausea, headaches, a general feeling of lethargy and dizziness.
The likes of landlords, housing associations, colleges, boarding schools, local authorities, hotels and B&Bs, and hostels will all need to make sure gas safety checks are carried out each year. And where hotels and B&Bs are concerned, you will need to arrange for these checks to be carried out on any gas appliances that serve guest accommodation, even if they are located away from the guest accommodation in question.
It’s also vital that you make sure the engineers you call out to review your gas appliances are Gas Safe registered, providing the reassurance that they have the skills and experience required to do the job properly and not put lives at risk. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for unregistered tradesmen to volunteer for jobs, so carry out stringent background checks on all those you’re considering hiring for the work.
In June, for example, a man who fitted boilers at two houses in Manchester was recently given a suspended prison sentence after admitting that he didn’t have the required safety registration in order to do the work.
Looking for help with your emergency response procedures? Get in touch with us at HFR Solutions CIC today.