New inspection aid to reduce Carbon monoxide deaths

New inspection aid to reduce Carbon monoxide deaths

Subject: Health and safety

The CIEH and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) have launched a housing inspection aid to help reduce carbon monoxide poisoning.

The one page checklist outlines key indicators of the possible presence of carbon monoxide and the symptoms in occupants that environmental health practitioners should look out for.

CIEH Principal Policy Officer Bob Mayho said:

“Carbon monoxide causes the death of around 50 people each year in the UK and a much larger number of non lethal poisonings.

“The Residential Inspection Aid has been developed to help environmental health practitioners deal with such incidents and reduce the harm exposure can cause.”

The aid also gives practicable advice on how to prevent exposure and what follow up action to take if necessary.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, tasteless, non-irritant gas.

Incidence of carbon monoxide poisoning could be just the tip of the iceberg as cases are almost certainly under detected because the associated symptoms of occupants often mimic other more common conditions such as flu or food poisoning.

Dr Robert Maynard of the Health Protection Agency said:

“To reduce the risk of being poisoned by carbon monoxide, it is vital that people ensure that their fossil fuel and wood burning appliances are regularly checked by an appropriately registered engineer.”

Gas Safe Register, which replaced the CORGI gas registration scheme across Great Britain and the Isle of Man on 1 April 2009, recommends that people fit a British Standards Kitemarked audible carbon monoxide alarm in their home. However, the installation of an alarm should not replace regular gas safety checks and servicing by a registered engineer.

Residential Property Aid, Carbon Monoxide is a free download. Hardcopies are available on request from

The CIEH is working with the HPA to produce a series of practical guides for EHPs. The Residential Inspection Aid is the first of these.

Notes to editors

  • The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is the professional voice for environmental health. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people’s health can be improved
  • The CIEH represents over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. For more information about the CIEH visit
  • The HPA provides advice to UK government departments and agencies on human health effects from chemicals in water, soil and waste as well as information and support to the NHS and health professionals on toxicology
  • Further information on carbon monoxide can be found here. For further information please contact James Davis on 0207 827 6303 or email