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Safety of Gas Appliances

Safety of Gas Appliances

Gas appliances should be serviced annually by a licensed gas fitter to ensure they are safe, Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

Mr O'Connor said licensed gasfitters were subject to regular and ongoing professional competency audits. They are kept updated with installation, legislative and safety requirements.

Mr O'Connor's comments followed a 20/20 investigation screened on TV3 last night that highlighted the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from the inadequate installation and operation of gas appliances. In one case a young boy became sick from the carbon monoxide fumes emitted by a gas heater and in another, a young woman drowned in a bath after being overcome with carbon monoxide fumes from a faulty gas hot water heater.

Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board chairman Phil Routhan said his organisation was first and foremost responsible for ensuring the health and safety of consumers.

"The Board is governed by legislation that makes clear our responsibility to consumers and we do not relent from that statutory requirement in any way."

Mr O'Connor said the minimal cost of an annual service was imperative to ensure safety. While people had cars serviced and regularly maintained homes, it was essential that people had their gas heaters and gas hot water heaters checked also.

"The government is encouraging people to save power, use other forms of energy and close doors to keep the heat in, but a lack of adequate ventilation can be potentially dangerous for a gas appliance. It may be that a public campaign to promote energy safety is needed," Mr O'Connor said.

In the meantime, Mr O'Connor said he would be talking again with the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board to reinforce the safety message.

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