Gas Safety Trust Announces Latest Figures on Fuel Safety

The Gas Safety Trust, the UK’s consumer fuel safety charity, has today released the latest figures on carbon monoxide incidents for 2010/11.

The report, which is the fifteenth in the series, analyses accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning incidents in Great Britain associated with the use of mains natural gas and piped LPG in the home. And for the first time, this year, the report includes an assessment of domestic solid fuel and oil heating incidents as reported by HETAS and OFTEC, offering a picture of carbon monoxide safety issues across all fuels.

50 incidents associated with domestic mains natural gas were reported during this period, resulting in 101 casualties (non-fatal) and 8 fatalities, which is slightly fewer incidents than 2009/10 (57) and 2008/09 (56). Of the 8 fatalities, five were associated with central heating appliances, two with cookers and one with a space heater. The total is twice the figure for 2009/10, although it’s too early to say whether this is due to natural variability or represents a definite trend.

The report, which was prepared by Downstream Gas Ltd and funded by the Gas Safety Trust, identifies common concerns involved in carbon monoxide incidents related to appliance and system design, the home environment, installation, servicing and maintenance.

The conclusions reached are intended to help further improve safety, to target investment on carbon monoxide incident prevention and to identify additional research work.

Gas Safety Trust Board Chair, Chris Bielby said; “The Gas Safety Trust is pleased to fund this report. We strongly believe that the information and data contained within it to be crucial to the further reduction in fatalities or serious injuries from accidental carbon monoxide exposure in the home environment.”

The report covers the period from 1st July 2010 to 30th June 2011.

Around 20% of the reported casualties in 2010/11 were categorized as less severe (not requiring hospital treatment). This compares to an average of only 11% prior to 2008/09. This suggests a greater proportion of incidents are being identified before serious injury takes place and one contributory reason may be an increased use of carbon monoxide alarms.