Gas Safety Trust announces support of APPGSG

The UK’s leading fuel safety charity, the Gas Safety Trust has announced its support of the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group (APPGSG) by pledging to work towards the recommendations outlined in the recent APPGSG report.

The Trust has committed to working towards 4 of the recommendations, although it will continue to support the APPGSG’s work to achieve all 17 recommendations.

The Trust has already launched its first campaign targeting the camping industry to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) when camping, in the light of rising numbers of fatalities and casualties reported in the last 2 years amongst campers and caravanners due to the effects of CO poisoning.

According to the APPGSG report, retailers selling camping and barbecue equipment, registered campsites and caravan sites should promote the dangers of carbon monoxide and the use of carbon monoxide alarms.

The Trust commissioned a survey of people who regularly go camping in the UK and the results revealed some alarming perceptions among UK adults. The Trust is lobbying MPs and the camping industry to raise awareness of this issue, at this critical time of the year. As the holiday season begins, it is estimated that 3.7 million Brits will go camping this summer.

Gas Safety Trust Board Chair, Chris Bielby said: ‘The launch of the research findings by the Gas Safety Trust represents a positive start to a coordinated approach, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. It has helped APPGSG parliamentary activity to appeal for the support of Government and the Health and Safety Executive to highlight the dangers and do more to prevent deaths, and seek funding for future projects’.

‘The results of future studies and research that attempt to evaluate the frequency of carbon monoxide poisoning across different population groups can only have a positive effect on joint activity with APPGSG and other industry stakeholders to raise the profile of the dangers and accelerate the introduction of measures that help reduce the number of accidents and fatalities’, he added.

The APPGSG report recommends joint activity aimed at Government to ensure that General Practitioners’ surgeries and Accident and Emergency departments are trained to recognise the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and monitor for CO using the appropriate equipment whenever carbon monoxide exposure is suspected.

Building on the success of the initial activity, the Gas Safety Trust will be engaging with ministers and collaborating with the Medical Research Council and other research funding bodies to support the Gas Safety Trust in its undertaking to carry out more CO research and set up a longitudinal study to assess the outcomes of acute and low-level exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning.

In the coming months, the Gas Safety Trust will also aim to persuade Government and the medical profession to trial General Practitioners prescribing a Gas Safety Check for suspected carbon monoxide cases and facilitate a study of the neurological effects of repeated exposure to carbon monoxide at low levels.

Figures released by the Gas Safety Trust on carbon monoxide incidents for 2010/11 confirm that of the eight fatalities reported involving natural gas in the home, five were associated with central heating appliances, two with cookers and one with a space heater. The most frequent single cause of all 50 incidents during the year was flue/terminal fault (24%) followed by lack of servicing (19%) and appliance fault (17%).

The risk of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in Great Britain associated with the use of mains natural gas and piped LPG is highlighted in the findings of a report funded by the Gas Safety Trust. The report identifies common concerns involved in incidents related to appliance and system design, the home environment, installation, servicing and maintenance.