The Week’s Energy News – 09/12/2016
This week’s energy news covers an acquisition and a host of renewable energy stories. Drax buys Opus Energy ...Read More
UK SMEs are at risk from the dangers of gas leaks and carbon monoxide. Analysis of the research and some simple advice could save your business and your life.
A recent survey of senior managers with responsibility for energy at small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) found that 20% had experienced health and safety issues with its boilers or business gas appliances. The British Gas research found that one in five had experienced potentially life threatening health and safety issues such as a gas leak, carbon monoxide leak or an unsafe appliance.
These problems translated to a monetary loss, with 14% of businesses suffering lost trading hours, 11% lost revenue and 14% having to buy a new boiler or appliance.
Ensuring gas appliances, gas pipework and flues are maintained in a safe condition is a legal requirement for all employers under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. Landlords must also complete annual safety checks and provide on-going maintenance.
Perhaps because of the pressure to keep business gas prices low, 17% of SMEs admitted they don’t have their gas appliance checked at least once a year by a qualified gas engineer.
These well-known time constraints are perhaps also in evidence in a clear lack of understanding about gas safety. The real wake-up call was the question of what to do immediately if gas is smelled on business premises. A staggering 41% said they would switch off the electrics, an extremely dangerous move that could spark a gas explosion.
Valuable time would be wasted by the 16% who would try to work out which appliance was leaking gas, while 1% would make perhaps the worst decision possible by shutting all windows and doors to keep the gas inside the building.
As well as basic business gas supply misunderstandings, secondary risks are also being overlooked. More than one third (36%) admitted that they didn’t have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted on their business premises. Businesses are advised to install an alarm if the boiler or gas appliance is near somewhere that is habitable, where people work or rest or near a bedroom.
“It’s crucial that businesses take gas safety seriously,” said field service manager at British Gas Business Vincent Thomas. “I’ve seen some alarming stuff over the years in all different types of businesses – from factories to nursing homes. When something goes wrong it can stop a business in its tracks and have a serious effect on finances, staff and customers.”
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