REVEALED: The impact gas safety has on UK businesses

If your workplace has a gas supply, you’re interacting with the fuel constantly throughout your day to day routines.

Whether that’s using hot water to wash up your dishes, cooking on the stove or cranking up the heating on those cold office days- gas keeps our workplaces running and our working lives easier. 

But even so, it’s never really at the forefront of our minds, and why would it be? It works so efficiently and smoothly that for many of us, it’s easy to forget what is powering these conveniences. 

However, not taking time to acknowledge the gas in your workplace can sometimes lead to serious, if not deadly consequences.

It might help us live our lives in comfort, but ensuring that the gas in our workplace is monitored and under control is the only way to keep ourselves safe.

Without proper gas safety measures, we open our workplaces and colleagues up to the risk of poisoning, fire and even explosions.

But how heavily affected is the UK by these dreadful instances?

In order to raise awareness, we decided to take a look into data provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Analysing the different instances in which a potential lack of gas safety led to some sort of injury, we can reveal how these instances have fluctuated over the last five years.

All gas stoves produce carbon monoxide, but sometimes these levels can exceed ‘healthy’ levels. In 2015-16, there were 146 recorded events of carbon monoxide poisoning, resulting in 225 non-fatal injuries and sadly, seven fatalities – the most fatal year since 2015. 

Compared to 2019-20, these reports reduced to 96 instances which is a 34% decrease. This led to no fatalities being recorded, and 151 non-fatal injuries. 

However, between the same years, the number of ‘other exposures’ such as unburnt gas more than doubled, from six reports in 2015-16 to 13 in 2019-20. In fact, we found that in 2018-19, there were six events of ‘other exposures’ – so in just 12 months the UK saw an increase of 117%. 

Fortunately, these ‘other exposures’ did not result in any fatalities, but they did cause 41 injuries over the last year, with 2019-20 being the worst, recording 15 instances. 

But it’s not just poisoning we must be concerned about, as there are many ways a gas explosion can occur. 

External pipelines can explode from outside gases getting in, such as hydrogen. But, when preventing household explosions, most often leaks can occur due to gas-powered kitchen appliances used for heating. 

Maintaining any appliance in your workplace that is linked to the gas is key to preventing serious incidents such as explosions.

Our analysis of the data found that in 2015-16, 26 incidents of gas explosions were recorded – resulting in 29 injuries that year. In 2019-20, we found a 58% increase in these explosions, with 41 gas explosions injuring 35 people. 

This makes 2019-20 the worst year since 2015-16 for the number of explosions, however, 2016-17 saw the most amount of people injured by an explosion, with 39 recorded.

Over the last five years, 11 people have sadly been killed by a gas explosion, and eight of those occured in 2019-20 alone. 

But where are these failings in gas safety taking place?

We analysed the data and found that the total number of dangerous gas fittings found were 3,283 in 2019-20 – a 39% increase since 2015-16. However, 2018-19 saw the largest number of these gas safety compromises with 3,456 being recorded.

Overall, more dangerous gas fittings were found to be in non-rented properties. 7,875 were recorded since 2015-16, with 2018-19 being the worst with 2,308 being found. 

Meanwhile, in rented properties, 6,216 dangerous gas fittings were found since 2015-16, and 2017-18 was the worst year, recording 1,666. 

Keep yourself and your property safe from the risk of gas leaks, fires and explosions by following these simple tips:

  • Get to know gas appliance warning signs such as yellow flames, condensation and black marks around the appliance.
  • Get to know gas appliance warning signs such as yellow flames, condensation and black marks around the appliance.
  • Get to know gas appliance warning signs such as yellow flames, condensation and black marks around the appliance.
  • Get to know gas appliance warning signs such as yellow flames, condensation and black marks around the appliance.
  • Get to know gas appliance warning signs such as yellow flames, condensation and black marks around the appliance.

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