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Trading Standards issues Gas Safety Warning

14th November 2014

As the days are getting colder and many of us are turning to our central heating, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) is urging consumers to take care should they need to find a handyman to fix their boiler.

Brian Smith, TSI’s lead officer for crime and disorder, said ‘We are very concerned by new figures showing that a quarter of a million gas jobs are potentially botched every year by irresponsible traders who don’t have relevant skills or qualifications.

‘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. ‘

The trading standards expert further advises consumers who need work done in their home to find a trader through a trading standards or local authority supported scheme such as Buy With Confidence, and to where possible get three quotes for comparison.

He said: ‘Don’t use anyone who just drops in a leaflet or just comes to you doorstep to offer their services – they could be anyone.  Also check that the address where they are based is legitimate – simple spelling mistakes are often a tell tale sign.’

Research recently commissioned by Gas Safe Register revealed that 250,000 gas jobs are done every year by cowboy traders who do not have the necessary skills or qualifications for the task at hand.

An estimated 7,500 illegal gas fitters are behind these shocking figures, putting thousands of lives and homes at risk every year. They will not only carry out gas work but will take on plumbing jobs (90%), bathroom fitting (81%), kitchen fitting (67%), general building (43%) and electrical work (43%).

One in 10 of the illegal gas installations investigated in the last nine months were immediately dangerous and appliances had to be disabled straight away to make them safe. Over a third of these were leaking gas, and almost half had faults that could lead to lethal carbon monoxide exposure.

Gas Safe Register’s national investigations manager Phill Brewster said: ‘We want everyone to understand that different types of gas work require different qualifications.  Just because someone is qualified and registered to work on one gas appliance, for example gas boilers, does not mean that they are automatically qualified to put in a gas fire.

‘The work that engineers can legally do is listed on the back of their Gas Safe card – it’s so important to check this every time you have work done.’