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Small business owners warned of Gas safety risks

A new survey has highlighted concerns that some small and medium sized businesses aren’t doing enough to protect their employers and premises from gas safety risks.

A survey by British Gas shows that 17% of businesses don’t service their appliances on a regular basis, and one in five small businesses state there have been problems with gas safety issues at their premises in the past.

Even more concerning is the fact that 40% of small businesses say they would turn off the electric supply if they thought they could smell gas at their work premises. While others said they would try and find out the source of the gas leak, and a small minority would close up the building to try and contain a suspected gas leak.

More than 500 senior managers were interviewed as part of the survey and 20 per cent of them admitted that gas safety issues had caused varying problems including gas leaks, lost income and a reduction in trading hours.

Commenting on the survey, Vincent Thomas, Field Service Manager at British Gas Business, said:

“It’s crucial that businesses take gas safety seriously. 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. 

“Our engineers visit over 1,000 businesses every week, and find that many customers don’t think about the risks of carbon monoxide and gas leaks at work the same way as they might at home.  It’s absolutely essential to get any commercial gas appliance regularly serviced and maintained.”

The survey was conducted as part of Gas Safety Week, which is held annually to help raise awareness of the potential problems that can be can be caused due to poor safety practices.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers also need to be aware of their legal obligations to provide a safe working environment for their employees. According to the guidelines set out by the Health and Safety Executive, work carried out in commercial premises such as factories needs to be completed by a registered engineer, and annual checks also need to be undertaken.

As well as carrying out regularly maintenance, records should be kept, and inspections should be conducted to look for early signs of damage to both the appliances and pipe lines.

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