Briefing note sent to Barry Sheerman MP and Baroness Finlay co-chairs of APPCOG

This Briefing Note was written by Nathaniel Shaughnessy, manager of Policy Connect with regard to the attempt by Stephanie Trotter, OBE to make a presentation to the board of the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) on the 10th September 2020. This presentation was unsatisfactory due to the fact that by the time Stephanie was called to make her presentation which had been put at the end of everything else, not a single member of the board was present. Stephanie wrote to the CEO of Policy Connect and after some correspondence this briefing note was agreed and sent on the 25.09.20

Briefing Note: CO-Gas Safety Presentation at 10-09 APPCOG Advisory Board

About CO-Gas Safety

CO-Gas Safety is an independent, registered charity working to achieve changes to reduce deaths and injuries from unintentional CO poisoning and other gas dangers. It provides support to those who suspect CO poisoning, victims and their families. Since 1995, it has also collected, collated & published data on deaths and injuries from unintentional CO. It is run almost entirely by volunteers and receives no guaranteed funding.

HSC/E Fundamental Review of Gas Safety

In 2000, following the ‘Fundamental Review of Gas Safety’, the Health and Safety Commission (now Executive) put forwarded a series of recommendations in its ‘Proposals for Change’ (also attached to this email) to improve Gas Safety management in the UK, including:

  1. A levy on the gas suppliers to pay for raising awareness of the dangers and for (recommendation 7)
  2. That the gas emergency service carry and use equipment to test gas appliances for emissions of carbon monoxide (CO). (recommendation 12)

20 years on, neither of these recommendations has been meaningfully implemented. CO-Gas Safety argues this is causing significant and avoidable hardship for survivors of CO poisoning and their families. With regard to (2) in particular, there remains no official free or straightforward procedure to obtain proof of the concentration of CO that was present in the air or emitting from live gas appliances. Whilst a survivor may be able to get a blood or breath test for CO, and the First Call Operators carry Personal Alarm Monitors, by the time either test is done, the appliances have long- since been switched off and the victim instructed to ventilate the room(s) and vacate the property. This has led to reports of survivors being disbelieved by friends, family and medical professionals, so preventing correct/sympathetic medical treatment and thereby wasting NHS funds. Due to its work, CO-Gas Safety is uniquely placed to understand the devastating impact this has, and this is further supported by research from Liverpool John Moore’s University into the experience of survivors.

CO-Gas Safety argues the implementation of these recommendations has always been needed. However, this is now acute as symptoms of CO poisoning could easily be misdiagnosed as COVID-19. Furthermore, OfGEM is providing expanded funding provided by the new £30m ‘use it or lose it’ allowance vulnerable consumers, and more under the innovation initiatives contained within RIIO-2. As such, this is both an essential and opportune moment to finally see these recommendations implemented.

CO-Gas Safety Recommendations

CO-Gas Safety asks the APPCOG board to:

  1. Meet relevant Ministers to call on industry & wealthy charities to take action before winter
  2. Table an immediate EDM to call on industry & wealthy charities to do the same
  3. Meet OfGEM & HSE to ask Gas Emergency Services to test appliances for CO
  4. Request immediate help from DoH for a coordinated educational programme for medics
  5. Facilitate funding for films for prime-time TV & other media.

British Gas engineers found 26,000 unsafe or dangerous gas and electric appliances in UK homes during the first eight months of the year

https://centralhousinggroup.com/fail-survey-finds-shocking-number-of-unsafe-gas-boilers-in-uk-including-within-prs/

Fail! Survey finds shocking number of unsafe gas boilers in UK including within PRS

Posted on October 11, 2020 at 9:30 am

British Gas engineers found 26,000 unsafe or dangerous gas and electric appliances in UK homes during the first eight months of the year even though, LandlordZONE has been told, this includes rented properties, suggesting many PRS homes are still failing to meet basic safety standards.

Centrica, which owns British Gas, has also said many of these unsafe appliances included gas boilers despite the requirement that a landlord must provide a gas safety certificate each year for such appliances.

The research has been released by British Gas to tie-in with the tenth annual Gas Safety Week, which is currently under way (14th-20th September).

Despite the fact that the data includes rented homes, the research also revealed that the average person in the UK hasn’t had their gas appliances serviced by a qualified and gas safe registered engineer in more than 18 months – despite a fifth believing they might be faulty or dangerous.

LandlordZONE asked Centrica if it knew how many of the 26,000 dangerous appliances were in rented properties, but we have been told this information is not available, and only that ‘the data does include rented as well as owned homes’.

Safety basics

But the survey also revealed astonishing ignorance of home safety basics, with a fifth saying they didn’t even know that annual boiler services are recommended, and a third saying they had no idea that being able to smell gas can be an indication that something is unsafe.

With half of those polled saying they never worry about the safety of the gas appliances in their home, British Gas says it is using Gas Safety Week to help raise awareness and understanding – specifically the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors installed.

As well as the legal requirement to provide tenants with a gas safety certificate, the NRLA is reminding landlords that they are responsible for making sure all gas appliances, including the installation of pipe or flues, are maintained in a safe condition throughout the entire time the property is occupied.

Blog Post from Landlord Zone

See details of our Guaranteed Rent Scheme here

Request for people to write something about their week

I have just read https://www.nla-eclipsweb.com/service/redirector/article/66960399.html?version=1 It’s given me an idea. Could a CO survivor please do something similar about their week for us to put on our website? Perhaps anyone reading this who is interested in our work could do the same? We’d be very interested in hearing from First Call Operators from the gas emergency service too. If you could do this, please send it to me, Stephanie office@co-gassafety.co.uk
Please don’t be put off if you are dyslexic or are damaged by CO – I have two dyslexic sons and am used to helping survivors so could help.
Thank you for reading this and I look forward very much to reading what you send me. It might be best to text/phone me first so I know what to look out for in case it goes into my junk. 07803 088688.

Competition for children – win cash, have fun & learn about carbon monoxide poisoning

All four gas distribution networks run this competition but there is a good article about it that I’ve just read at http://www.aberdareonline.co.uk/news/rhondda-cynon-taff/teaching-children-vital-gas-safety-awareness

This is the competition CO-Gas Safety started but taken to an even better level by the gas distribution networks. Please enter and pass on the word to friends and family.

It is really important to your safety to learn about how to avoid carbon monoxide (CO). The charity doesn’t want to hear about anyone dying or being injured by unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. Learn how to avoid CO, have fun and raise awareness and maybe win the competition! What you learn doing this will protect your whole family all your life. Do please let us know if from learning about CO, you save your life or the lives of your pets or those of family and friends. We’d love to hear from you. Closing date is 30th September. Stephanie My email is office@co-gassafety.co.uk or you can phone me on 07803 088688.

Lille conference about carbon monoxide poisoning

An excellent conference in Lille was organised by AFPRIM and CoGDEM has kindly allowed us to put the video on our website – please see https://www.afprim.org/conference-lille/ You tube https://youtu.be/jesyyynytso

Three students gave an account of their fellow housemate and his girlfriend who tragically died of carbon monoxide in their shower.

Sad News of the death of Baroness Maddock

Baroness Maddock, who was our Lib Dem MP when she was an MP and was extremely helpful with regard to landlords’ gas safety checks, very sadly died on the 26th June 2020. CO-Gas Safety would like to send sympathy to her family and friends and express the charity’s thanks for all the work she did for the charity.

Pilot of floatplane probably affected by carbon monoxide – 6 dead

Please see https://7news.com.au/news/nsw/aviation-authority-issues-carbon-monoxide-warning-following-crash-investigation-c-1142382 

This floatplane crash happened in 2017 yet it seems that only after all other causes of the crash had been investigated was carbon monoxide poisoning suspected and tested for in March 2020. Why did it take so long?

There is a call for sensors – even small sensors that cost only a couple of ££ (mainly used by pilots of small planes) but of course the aviation industry is stalling. Pilots seem reluctant to buy their own but it’s their lives as well as their passengers so surely it’s worth their while to buy them?

It’s not just CO – there is a “cocktail” of toxic substances making it impossible to nail the health damage down to only one substance. EASA tested 127 substances present. https://www.aerotoxicteam.com/easa-list.html.

Medical testing and info for professionals kindly provided by Bearnairdine Beaumont – she hopes that perhaps some of it will be useful.

https://www.aerotoxicteam.com/medical.html
https://www.aerotoxicteam.com/uploads/6/0/3/8/6038702/med_staff_info_update_2019.pdf
http://www.collegiumramazzini.org/download/2016/fri/RD-2016_PDF_Heutelbeck_Budnik-Baur_28102016.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2Fs3EdspAy7jF2-MkeDA8IZp8J3JYDS0D5SR7LV0B_a4SwgGk1CUpcKxY