5 Expert Safety Tips for Gas Appliances
Beckie Hatton is Product Manager at Home Appliance Care, a company that provides fixed price repairs and gas safety checks on all major kitchen appliances. Here, she gives us her expert tips to help keep your commercial gas appliances working safely.
According to The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998, it is your duty as an employer and business owner to ensure that all gas appliances are properly maintained to prevent the risk of injury to staff or customers.
Failure to look after your gas appliances could lead to a gas leak, fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide poisoning, all of which could cause death. To help keep your workforce safe, I’ll be giving you some gas safety tips you should follow as a business owner.
Get your gas appliances serviced regularly
By law, your gas appliances need to be serviced at least once a year to ensure that they’re safe. During your service, your engineer will check that all parts of your gas appliances are working as they should be. They’ll also clean the internal parts of your appliances according to the manufacturers' guidance.
Your annual service should only be conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer — this means that they’re fully qualified to work on your appliances safely and legally. If you want to check this at the beginning of your service, they’ll usually be carrying an ID card with them to say that they’re Gas Safe registered.
Request a gas safety certificate
When buying any property, you should be able to ask for previous gas safety certificates, which state that the premises are safe and up to date with their services. If you own the property, it is your responsibility to maintain your appliances and book your annual service.
If you’re a tenant, you should still conduct all the regular cleaning and maintenance checks, however, your landlord is responsible for organising an annual service. If this is the case, your landlord should issue you with an updated gas safety certificate within 28 days of the service.
Clean and maintain your gas appliances
To keep your appliances safe between services, you should clean and maintain them according to the manufacturers’ instructions. Check that your appliances have proper ventilation and that air vents and flues are clean and free of dust.
You should also make sure that the area around your boiler is clear in case an engineer needs to reach it in an emergency. It’s important that you never remove the cover to clean or maintain the inside of your boiler yourself, as this could be unsafe.
As part of your maintenance checks you should also familiarise yourself with any signs that your gas appliance is unsafe. These include:
If you do spot any of these signs, you should call a Gas Safe registered engineer straight away.
Install a carbon monoxide alarm
Unsafe gas appliances can sometimes leak a poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO) which, if not dealt with immediately, can be fatal. Because CO is an odourless, colourless, and tasteless gas, it can often go undetected and is responsible for around 50 deaths and 4,000 emergencies each year in England and Wales alone (GOV.uk).
A carbon monoxide detector will alert you with a loud alarm if it picks up any CO in the air. This should give you enough time to react and evacuate the building before it can do any serious harm. As a business owner, you should install carbon monoxide alarms in all major areas of your property, especially in the kitchen and near the boiler.
If you do experience a carbon monoxide leak, immediately switch off all appliances, open the windows, and evacuate the property. You should also call the gas emergency service on 0800 111 999 to report the incident.
If anyone is feeling sick, dizzy, tired, confused or is experiencing headaches, stomach pain, or shortness of breath, they may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and you should call an ambulance right away.
Invest in the correct fire safety supplies
Faulty gas appliances can also be a major fire hazard, so you should ensure that your business is fully equipped with the correct safety supplies in case a fire does break out. These include fire alarms, blankets, hoses, and extinguishers. Like your gas appliances, your fire safety equipment should also be serviced annually.
The fire protection service, such as Parr Group, that you bought your equipment from will usually be able to offer a annual maintenance check to ensure that they meet the required safety standards.
By getting your appliances serviced annually and taking preventative measures, you can avoid gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, fires, and explosions on your business' premises.