Small firms taking risks over gas safety

Nearly a fifth of small businesses are taking risks with gas safety, according to new research from British Gas Business.

They report that while many of the nation’s firms understand their responsibilities, 18% do not have a carbon monoxide alarm in their workplace.

Some 21% of small businesses were also not aware that failing to have an annual gas safety check could invalidate their insurance.

While not having a gas detector may not seem like a serious issue, carbon monoxide – a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas – can kill if someone is exposed to enough of it.

More than 500 SME owners were questioned by British Gas and 77% were aware of the need to check their gas appliances annually.

Of those, 82% have a registered engineer carry out an inspection of their workplace and 79% suggest that a failure to do checks could put lives at risk.

Alarmingly, 3% suggest that there are no health risks associated with a failure to carry out checks, despite the NHS reporting that between 10% and 15% of people with severe exposure develop long-term health complications.

This can impact on a business in several ways – not only could they face an expensive lawsuit from an employee but they would also likely lose that member of staff too.

They may also be putting customers at risk – should this occur, it could damage the firm’s reputation and may also harm sales.

All of these are factors that can negatively impact on the bottom line of a business and may, in severe instances, lead to a firm facing administration if they are unable to deal with the costs.

While the majority of home owners are aware of gas safety, the Gas Safe Register reports that the same viewpoints are not always held towards the workplace.

As well as suggesting that firms carry out checks on any appliances, they are also encouraged to remember their responsibilities towards creating a safe working environment.

By Phil Smith

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