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British Gas calls on small businesses to safeguard workers and customers from Carbon Monoxide risk

  • One in five SME businesses surveyed admit that they have experienced gas health and safety issues at work, such as carbon monoxide leaks
  • British Gas issues reminder after survey highlights ‘concerning’ number that do not have an alarm.

British Gas is calling on small businesses to install a carbon monoxide alarm to protect workers and customers from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The business energy supplier teamed up with YouGov to survey senior managers with responsibility for energy at Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).  More than one third (36%) of those surveyed said a carbon monoxide alarm was not fitted on all of their business’ premises.

Barry Sheerman MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG), said: "As Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, I am shocked to hear that one-third of SMEs do not have CO alarms fitted in all of their properties. Whether they are shops, hotels or other establishments, SMEs provide the backbone to our national economy and the beating heart to our local communities. It is vital therefore that their staff members and customers alike are adequately protected from the threat of CO, the silent killer.”

Vincent Thomas, Field Service Engineer at British Gas Business, said: “Many people focus on the dangers of carbon monoxide at home, but it’s equally serious when it leaks into a business’ premises.

“When you go on holiday, walk into a shop or visit a relative in care, the last thing you expect is to have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We want to see the concerning number of small businesses without a carbon monoxide alarm reduced this summer, so we’re encouraging them to protect workers and customers by installing an alarm and having their boilers and appliances regularly checked.”

There is currently no specific regulation in the UK for business premises to have to install carbon monoxide detectors for their gas appliances, but commercial gas engineers highly recommend installing an alarm if a boiler or gas appliance is near any inhabited space where workers or customers work or rest, or near a bedroom. Under wider health and safety and gas regulations all employers have a legal duty to ensure that their gas systems are correctly maintained and safe to use. Commercial property tenants may also be directly responsible for the maintenance and repair of the properties boiler and gas appliances.

In September 2015, research from British Gas and YouGov found that one in five SME businesses surveyed had experienced gas health and safety issues, such as carbon monoxide leaks, at their current or previous business premises.

British Gas is contacting its SME customers to remind them of the dangers of carbon monoxide and to offer them a free carbon monoxide alarm when purchasing certain Careplan service packages between 12 May and 22 July. Careplans provide repair and maintenance for heating and gas appliances.

British Gas has a national network of qualified business service and repair engineers who provide support to 28,000 businesses across the UK. Last year the company fixed 27,400 broken boilers and gas appliances and completed 26,300 service visits.

British Gas’ simple checks to stay gas safe:

  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your property. If you are a landlord you can buy them online and have it delivered direct to your tenants to install themselves with minimal effort.
  • Look for signs of staining, soot or discoloration on, or around your gas boiler, fire or water heater. These can be signs of carbon monoxide. Also keep air vents providing fresh clean air to your gas appliances.
  • Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be similar to the flu.
  • Maintain and service your gas appliances and pipework on an annual basis.
  • Any gas service, installation or repair should be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer that is qualified to work on commercial gas appliances and pipework. All British Gas engineers are Gas Safe registered.
  • Keep a record of any gas work carried out.
  • Take out a service plan if your business relies on heating or gas appliances.
  • If you notice anything wrong, stop using the appliance immediately, open windows and doors to ventilate your business and call the Gas Emergency Services Helpline on 0800 111 999 (24hrs). You should also seek medical advice.
  • Get more advice here: Britishgas.co.uk/business/keepmybusinesssafe


Notes to editors

Business customers purchasing British Gas Careplan 2, 2S, 3 or 3S packages will receive a free carbon monoxide alarm between 12 May and 22 July.

Customers can also order a carbon monoxide alarm from British Gas here:

ABOUT BRITISH GAS BUSINESS

British Gas Business provides gas and electricity to more than 750,000 business supply points as well as boiler maintenance, energy efficiency and renewable energy technology. For more information go to: www.britishgas.co.uk/business

ABOUT THIS GAS SAFETY RESEARCH

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 509 SME senior managers who have responsibility for electricity/ gas supply and have gas boiler/ heating system on their business premises. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st – 9th September 2015.  The survey was carried out online.

For more information contact:

Katie Rose
British Gas
07789 575915
katie.rose@britishgas.co.uk

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country’s homes – as well as providing energy to around half a million British businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Homes Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk.


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