Older people at risk of CO poisoning according to GST’s latest Downstream Incident Data Report

For immediate release – Thursday 26 October 2017

The Gas Safety Trust (GST) today (26 October 2017) published the Downstream Incident Data Report statistics for 2015-16. The report collates data relating to accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning incidents in Great Britain (GB) associated with the use of mains natural gas and piped Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) in the home. Since 2011, information, albeit less extensive than that for mains gas, has also been collected concerning CO incidents associated with the domestic use of solid fuel and oil.

This year the report recorded 20 incidents, including five fatalities. Four of which were over 60 years of age and related to piped natural gas, and one 18-year-old male caused by an LPG space heater. All five fatal incidents occurred between September 2015 and January 2016.

This follows on from the 2014-15 period during which there were four fatalities, all over 80 years of age, where older appliances were involved. Support to those vulnerable customers is available via the priority services register (PSR), which is a free and voluntary system that your supplier and network uses to ensure the correct support is given to those in need.

Chris Bielby, Chairman of the GST said:

“It is sad news that there have been five fatalities recorded by the DIDR data collection this year. Once again we are seeing an emerging trend of older people being poisoned. This chimes with other work we are funding elsewhere which is identifying vulnerable older people and those in fuel poverty as particularly at risk.

We would urge people to make sure that their appliances are serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer and that an audible CO alarm tested to the standard EN 50291 is installed as a second line of defence.”

The GST, set up in 2005, is the UK’s leading gas safety research charity and has in recent years refocused its strategy on funding several strands of CO related research, to provide the underpinning empirical evidence that supports improved awareness and understanding of the effects of CO.


Notes to editors

About Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a gas formed during the incomplete combustion of any carbon-based or fossil fuel (e.g. gas, coal, oil, wood, charcoal etc) which happens when there is insufficient oxygen caused by poor ventilation.

About the Gas Safety Trust
The Gas Safety Trust, established in 2005 as a registered charitable body, has become the UK’s leading fuel safety charity with the key objectives of further improving fuel safety for the public and industry throughout the United Kingdom and reducing the incidents of death and serious injury from carbon monoxide exposure. The Gas Safety Trust is generously funded by the gift aided profits of CORGI Services Limited, www.corgiservices.com.

About the GST CO Portal
The Gas Safety Trust (GST) has created an online carbon monoxide (CO) portal, which is the central repository for data and information relating to CO in the UK. The portal was launched in January 2015. The Portal has three main sections Legislation and Standards, which include information on Regulations, Standards, Guidance and Codes of Practice, Academic References, which is a searchable reference library of academic papers relating to CO and Data and Documents, which contains reports and other general information on CO, www.coportal.org.

For further information please contact:

Adrian McConnell                   
Trust Manager
Gas Safety Trust

T: 020 7706 5111
M: 07792 219649
E: adrian@gassafetytrust.org
W: www.gassafetytrust.org
Follow us: @GasSafetyTrust
Visit GST’s CO Portal: www.coportal.org