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Workers and customers at risk as small businesses fail to stay gas safe

  • Survey shows most small businesses take workplace gas safety seriously
  • Just over one in five small businesses say they don't have a carbon monoxide alarm
  • British Gas Business is backing Gas Safety Week to increase awareness levels

New research from British Gas Business shows that while the majority of Britain's small to medium-sized (SME) businesses know their responsibilities for gas safety, 18 per cent don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm.  

Furthermore, around a fifth (21%) of small businesses surveyed were not aware that by failing to have an annual gas safety check carried out they could be invalidating their insurance.

The survey of more than 500 SME owners and senior managers with responsibility for energy was commissioned by British Gas Business to coincide with Gas Safety Week (19-25 September).

The results also showed that more than three-quarters (77 per cent) were aware that gas appliances need to be checked on an annual basis. In fact, 82 per cent had a Gas Safe registered engineer visit their workplace to carry out gas safety checks in the last year.

In addition, almost 4 in 5 (79 per cent) said that not taking annual gas safety checks could put lives at risk, with only three per cent stating there would be no health risks.

British Gas Business services gas appliances and systems for more than 20,000 SMEs across Britain. By backing the national safety campaign again this year, the company hopes to highlight the serious risks to small businesses, their employees and customers.

Employers have a legal requirement to ensure gas their appliances, gas pipework and flues are maintained in a safe condition is a legal requirement for all employers. Landlords must also complete annual gas safety checks.

Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said:

“When we think about gas safety many of us would automatically think of gas appliances like boilers, cookers or fires in our homes but this survey shows it equally important to consider the workplace. Some of the obligations and responsibilities may differ, but the risks from an unsafe gas appliance remain the same. This Gas Safety Week, we encourage businesses of all shapes and sizes to check their gas appliances and keep employees and customers safe.”

James Bennett, managing director of business services for British Gas Business, said:

“Without safely functioning gas appliances and a secure gas supply, businesses could put their revenues and the safety of employees and customers at risk. British Gas Business is backing this campaign, to make sure all our customers know about their responsibilities. Every business should have its gas appliances checked and have an audible carbon monoxide detector.”                                            

Wayne Martin, engineer for British Gas Business, said:

“It’s important that all small businesses make gas safety as 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.”

British Gas Business has a network of almost 200 Gas Safe Registered engineers. The company fixed 32,000 broken boilers and gas appliances and completed 28,000 service visits last year.

Find out more at britishgas.co.uk/business/gassafety.

British Gas Business’ simple checks to help keep your business to stay gas safe:

  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm at your business premises. If you are a landlord you can buy a British Gas detector by calling 0800 077 4472 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, water heater or any other gas appliance. These can be signs of carbon monoxide. Also keep air vents open and clear in order to provide fresh clean air to your gas appliances.
  • Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be similar to the flu. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness and feeling generally lethargic
  • 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 Business 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: www.britishgas.co.uk/business/gassafety.

Notes to editors

About the research

The research was carried out online by Censuswide between 25 August and 01 September 2016. The sample includes more than 500 SME senior managers and those with responsibility for energy, and have a gas boiler on their business premises were surveyed.

About Gas Safety Week (19-25 September)

Gas Safety Week is an annual campaign week helping to raise awareness of gas safety. The campaign is co-ordinated by Gas Safe Register. Visit gassaferegister.co.uk/gasssafetyweek for further information. 

For more information contact:

Catrin Millar
Senior PR Manager
British Gas
01784 84 3000
catrin.millar@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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