Thousands fall victim every year to carbon monoxide poisoning from unsafe gas boilers, cookers or fires - and in many cases the problems are easily rectified with regular maintenance of appliances.
Landlords cutting costs by failing to make sure their gas appliances are serviced every year regularly hit the headlines, and in an effort to promote greater awareness of the dangers, GasSafe is promoting gas safety week from September 10 - 17, 2012.
GasSafe is the official body that trains authorises qualified gas engineers.
“Badly fitted and poorly serviced appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions as well as carbon monoxide poisoning. Using an illegal gas fitter can put lives at risk, only a GasSafe registered engineer should carry out gas work.,” said a GasSafe spokesman.
In the past month, three landlords have faced prosecution for breaching gas safety regulations.
Sheffield magistrates heard Waheed Ahmid and his wife Farhat Basharat, let a home with a number of serious gas faults
An engineer decommissioned the boiler, cooker and gas fires in the lounge and dining room as 'immediately dangerous'. Evidence of carbon monoxide fumes was found in the home.
Both were handed three month jail sentences, suspended for 12 months. Ahmid must also serve 150 hours of community service and pay £2,500 costs. Basharat will serve 200 hours of community service and pay £5,000 costs.
In a separate case, landlord David MacDonald was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years, must serve 200 hours of community service and pay £8,211 in costs after a family who rented his flat suffered carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty gas boiler that hadn’t been checked for over two years.
HSE inspector Kevin Shorten said: “Carbon monoxide can kill quickly without warning, and approximately 20 people die each year as a result of poisoning from gas appliances and flues that haven't been properly installed, maintained, or that are poorly ventilated. Had a neighbour's carbon-monoxide alarm not sounded, the family could well be among that number.”