Spotlight on Cowboy Gas Fitters
To mark Gas Safety Week (12 -18 September), Gas Safe Register can reveal the nation’s top hot spots for rogue gas fitters. With 1 in 5 jobs investigated by Gas Safe Register deemed ‘immediately dangerous’ they are teaming up with the Trading Standards Institute to launch a campaign urging the public to ‘shop a cowboy gas fitter’.
Illegal gas fitters are targeting homes across the country and potentially leaving them with unsafe appliances. Latest figures show that Wales and the South West of England are the worst affected areas in the UK, according to new data from Gas Safe Register, whose investigations team classified over half (59%) of the jobs they looked at in this region as ‘at risk’ or ‘immediately dangerous’. Areas worst affected include Cardiff, Newport and Exeter. Gas Safe Register is cracking down on rogue traders and urges anyone who suspects a fitter is working illegally to report them to the Register.
Other areas at high risk include the North and North East where over a quarter (26%) of gas jobs were classified ‘immediately dangerous’, with Leeds and Bradford home to the highest proportion of rogues.
Ron Gainsford, the Trading Standards Institute’s chief executive, said: “We are very concerned by the new figures showing 20 per cent of gas jobs botched to be ‘immediately dangerous’ and would urge anyone affected by rogue traders to get in touch with their local trading standards service or with Gas Safe Register who can then crack down on these criminals.
“If you need work done in your home don't use someone who drops in a leaflet or comes to you doorstep to offer their services - they could be anyone. Gas and cowboys can be a lethal mix and we’d urge anyone who needs gas work done in their home to not only make sure the trader carries a Gas Safe card, but that they check the back of the card where it states what appliances the gas engineer is qualified to work on.
“Consumers can also find a trusted trader through a trading standards or local authority supported scheme such as Buy With Confidence.”
Cowboy gas fitters are unqualified to work with gas and are often builders or kitchen fitters who decide to turn their hand to gas work, despite having little or no knowledge of how to safety install gas equipment. Common problems include installing the wrong boiler, putting in a boiler which is undersized or one that doesn’t meet current building regulations. They are often fitted badly, with badly sealed and leaky joints, leaving people at high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or a gas explosion, both of which are life threatening. It is estimated they carry out 250,000 jobs nationwide a year.
“In order to be sure you are employing a qualified expert, always use a Gas Safe Registered engineer. They always carry a Gas Safe ID card and you can double check they are legitimate by calling the free helpline on 0800 408 5500 or by going to www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk. It is worth taking care and being gas safe – it could save your life”, said Phil Brewster of Gas Safe Register.”
- ENDS –
Notes to editors
• 10 people died from gas related incidents in the UK last year and 330 were hospitalised (Source: HSE Gas Safety Statistics 09/10).
• (New investigations statistics provided by gas Safe Register’s investigations team records, November 2010 – March 2011)
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Gas Safe Register is the government approved registration scheme for gas engineers in UK, Isle of Man and Guernsey. The register of over 120,000 gas engineers aims to protect the UK’s 21 million gas consumers from dangerous gas work. It is a legal requirement for any gas engineering business or self employed gas engineer carrying out domestic and commercial gas work to be registered, and comply with the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.
Gas Safe Register assesses the competence of engineers on the register by inspecting a sample of the gas work they carry out to make sure they are safe to work on gas. Gas Safe Register is focused on gas safety and campaigns to raise awareness of gas safety risks, including those associated with using illegal gas workers.
Gas Safe Register deals with all aspects of the downstream gas industry covered by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. It covers both piped natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Gas Safe Register replaced the CORGI gas registration scheme in Great Britain and Isle of Man on 1 April 2009 and in Northern Ireland and Guernsey on 1 April 2010.
Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and ECCS.