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Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning

HSE is supporting Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week organised by the charity CO-Awareness. It will run from 15 - 19 November 2010. The aim of the week is to reduce incidents, fatalities and ill health due to carbon monoxide poisoning by raising awareness amongst consumers.

CO is a colourless and odourless gas caused by faulty or badly installed gas appliances. Symptoms include drowsiness, headaches, nausea and breathlessness. There are a number of simple steps that gas consumers can take to keep themselves safe from these risks.

By law

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 place duties on gas consumers, engineers, suppliers and landlords. Ventilation and flues are covered by The Building Regulations. By law, anyone carrying out work on gas appliances or fittings as part of their business must be competent and a Gas Safe registered engineer.

CO alarms

HSE strongly recommends the use of audible CO alarms as a useful back-up precaution, but they must not be regarded as a substitute for proper installation and maintenance of gas appliances by a Gas Safe registered engineer. CO alarms should comply with European standard EN 50291 and should be installed, checked and serviced in line with the manufacturer's instructions.

Further information

HSE have produce a range of free leaflets and information sheets for further advice or see the gas webpages on the HSE website and the DH public information leaflet on the risks of CO poisoning which has recently been updated provides useful advice.